Hush! The movie is on…

Scene 1: Actor narrating.

They say Japan was made by a sword.
They say the old gods dipped a coral blade into the ocean
and when they pulled it out, four perfect drops fell back into the sea
and those drops became the islands of Japan.

I say Japan was made by a handful of brave men
warriors willing to give their lives
for what seems to have become a forgotten word:

When I exited the movie, back in 2004, there was one sentence that got stuck in my head. And I spoke it out to those students that accompanied me in watching the film…
“There is one thing only that this movie misses, in order to be perfect. It needs the help of time, in order to be appreciated, it needs to be… old”
In my view (and opinion if you like) this film was a classic already, from the moment it was aired. And I was enjoying myself further more, with the idea that my movie collection would be richer by one more masterpiece, of the kind that one can watch over and over again. 
Today, about five years later, the question…
-Can you tell me one good Samurai film in order to watch?
…has found its standard answer.
-But of course! You can see “The Last Samurai”

Scene 15: Actor narrating.

I continue to live among these unusual people.
Everyone is polite. Everyone smiles and bows.
But beneath their courtesy, I detect a deep reservoir of feeling.
They are an intriguing people.
From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection
 of whatever they pursue.
I have never seen such discipline.
I am surprised to learn that the word “Samurai” means “to serve”…

Scene 28: Two Samurai talk to each other around camp fire, while facing death, defeat and the end of their time.

-The way of the Samurai is not necessary anymore.
-Necessary?! What could be more… necessary?!

Scene 39: At the end, the Emperor speaks his mind.

I have dreamed of a unified Japan
of a country strong and independent and modern.
And now we have railroads and cannon, Western clothing.
…we cannot forget who we are or where we come from.

From same scene: The Emperor kneels, in recognition, while holding his “enemy’s” sword and asks the survived Samurai…

-Tell me how he died.
-I will tell you how he lived…

A beautiful death
One should note that the story of the film is “loosely”, but brilliantly nevertheless, based on the life of Saigo Takamori and also, historical fact, is not absent from this movie.
By following the spirit of the film, one must take into consideration that the Samurai could have not asked for a better death (of their time) than this… a shift, quick confrontation, in a last desperate fierce fight, sword against gun.
The moral here is not about the hero that “wins” at the end, maybe as we would like to. This movie is about how to deal with endings and defeat… which is as important in life as any other challenge.

At the end of each movie, it is a normal thing to be in search of a consonance, a conclusion that somehow involves the viewer himself.  But in this case it looks like that there is none.
The only “way out” is the promise in striving to be a worthy Martial Artist of your own time…

December 19, 2008