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Author Topic: 10 Great Chambara  (Read 3767 times)
dave jenkins
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« on: October 06, 2006, 08:26:58 AM »

Sanjuro has got me thinking of Japanese films I like, specifically chambara or "sword fighting" films. I think the distinction between jidaigeki (historical drama) and chambara needs to be observed. All chambara are jidaigeki, but not all jidaigeki are chambara. For example, although Rashomon has a sword fight scene in it, I wouldn't consider it a chambara. You could call Crime and Punishment a policier, also, and you'd be just as wrong headed.

Anyway, here's ten of the best chambara I can think of, more or less in my order of preference.

10 Great Chambara

Samurai (1965) [Samurai Assassin]
Dai-bosatsu tôge (1966) [Sword of Doom, lit. “Great Bodhisattva Pass”]
Shichinin no samurai (1954) [Seven Samurai]
Sepuku (1962) [Harakiri]
Jôi-uchi: Hairyô tsuma shimatsu (1967) [Samurai Rebellion]
Ansatsu (1964) [Assassination]
Sanjuro Tsubaki (1962)
Miyamoto Musashi trilogy (1954-56) [Samurai 1-3]
Yojimbo (1961)
Samurai Fiction (1998)

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Sanjuro
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2006, 10:47:21 AM »

Dave, my compliment to your wide range of viewing experience and knowledge of Japanese films. Chambara films are samurai action films that are set in a time period mainly from 1600 to 1868. But this time definition is not definite. There are some exceptions like "Samurai Banner (Furin Kazan)" which time is set in before 1600. "Rashomon" is way off. Its time is 8th century. That's another reason it's not considered "chambara".

Incidentally, the group of knights in Star Wars series "Jedi" was named after "jidaigeki". 

These are my top 10 chambara films.

"Daisatsujin" by Eichi Kudo (if you talk about chambara, this is the ultimate.)
"Thirteen Assassins" by Eichi Kudo
"Seven Samurai" by Kurosawa
"Yojimbo" by Kurosawa
"Sanjuro" by Kurosawa
"Samurai Rebellion" by Masaki Kobayashi
"Miyamoto Musashi" series by Tom Uchida (much better than Inagaki's version)
"Orochi" by Buntaro Futagawa (http://www.matsudafilm.com/matsuda/movies/orochi.mov)
"When the Last Sword is Drawn" (Mibu Gishi-Den) by Yojiro Takita
"Tange Sazen/Hyakumanryo no Ttsubo" by Sadao Yamanaka (he is genius)

« Last Edit: October 06, 2006, 03:15:40 PM by Sanjuro » Logged

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Sanjuro
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2006, 04:02:14 AM »

Nobody else is interested in chambara?

Dave, seems like this thread ends here.

Well, if not chambara, how about Shamballa? Grin

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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2006, 07:57:50 AM »

Here are my three chambara, in order:

1. Seven Samurai
2. Yojimbo
3. Sanjuro





Then again, those are the only three I've seen.

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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2006, 10:20:36 PM »

Here are my three chambara, in order:

1. Seven Samurai
2. Yojimbo
3. Sanjuro

Then again, those are the only three I've seen.

It's a good start. I hope eventually you will see films of Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri, Samurai Rebellion), Kihachi Okamoto (Kill), Yojiro Takita (When the Last Sword is Drawn) and Hideo Gosha (Three Samurai, Goyokin).

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2006, 05:37:42 PM »

The Gosha films I've seen I haven't liked (including 3 Samurai) but, on your recommendation, I will look out for Takita's When the Last Sword is Drawn.

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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 05:58:34 PM »

The Gosha films I've seen I haven't liked (including 3 Samurai) but, on your recommendation, I will look out for Takita's When the Last Sword is Drawn.

That film won Japanese Academy Award and made my macho brother-in-law cry.

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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 06:03:01 PM »

The Gosha films I've seen I haven't liked (including 3 Samurai) but, on your recommendation, I will look out for Takita's When the Last Sword is Drawn.

To be honest, I don't like Gosha personally either. But his samurai films certainly represent this genre in Japan.

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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2006, 05:01:07 PM »

I can see how that might be true. But then, I'm probably not interested in films that are typical of a genre; I'm looking for films that are exceptional.

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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2006, 09:58:48 PM »

I can see how that might be true. But then, I'm probably not interested in films that are typical of a genre; I'm looking for films that are exceptional.

I wouldn't argue about that. Have you seen Yoji Yamada's "Twilight Samurai"? It's a relatively new film. If you have not seen it yet, I recommend this too.

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