302 Harakiri

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Martha
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302 Harakiri

#1 Post by Martha » Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:58 am

Harakiri

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Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi’s clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor. Winner of the 1963 Cannes Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize, Harakiri, directed by Masaki Kobayashi is a fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system.

Disc Features

- High-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- Video introduction by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
- Excerpt from a rare Directors Guild of Japan video interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, moderated by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
- Video interviews with star Tatsuya Nakadai and screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto
- Original theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Joan Mellen and a reprint of Mellen’s 1972 interview with Kobayashi

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Last edited by Martha on Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#2 Post by Jem » Wed May 04, 2005 6:46 pm

Re: Harakiri

Furthermore, as with all art, by veiling these films as period dramas and simple sword fight movies, it was possible to disguise their political criticism and lampooning of the government. Often times, the films were cynical indictments of the Japanese feudal system (emperor and all) and of the over reliance on honor and the group over the individual. Specifically, films like Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1967) are critical of the over-value placed on bushido and the samurai's loyalty to the clan being more significant than life itself. The critique reads that all lives and their deaths that occur in an impersonal and pointless social order become, inexorably, impersonal and pointless as well. The reward for following the rules or rebelling against them is ultimately the same: identical destruction.
Last edited by Jem on Sun May 08, 2005 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#3 Post by Jun-Dai » Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:05 pm

More on the film: IMDb - strictly film school - Donald Keene
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#4 Post by The Invunche » Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:53 pm

About time.

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#5 Post by Cinephrenic » Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:22 pm

I'm glad they came to this. Sword of Doom and now Harakiri.

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#6 Post by Panda » Thu Jun 02, 2005 6:33 pm

Fine, fine film. Sags a bit in the middle, but its concluding passages more than make up for it.

Does this mean there's a chance we'll get "The Human Condition" trilogy?

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#7 Post by tavernier » Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:05 pm

Oh, God....The Human Condition from Criterion? Pant, pant, pant....

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#8 Post by Lino » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:23 am

Hopefully, Samurai Rebellion is on the way too.

Glad this is getting a CC spine. Now I can ditch my horrid Panorama disc.

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#9 Post by daniel p » Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:20 am

Annie Mall wrote:Hopefully, Samurai Rebellion is on the way too.

Glad this is getting a CC spine. Now I can ditch my horrid Panorama disc.


Yeah, was thinking maybe Samurai Rebellion could have #304 - would be nice to have them close together...

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#10 Post by Jun-Dai » Fri Jun 03, 2005 2:52 pm

How the hell did they go from the correct spelling to the current misspelling of the title?

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#11 Post by tartarlamb » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:24 pm

Sounds like a pretty disappointing package for $39.95. A commentary, at least, would have been nice. I was going to blind buy this, being a huge fan of Kwaidan and Samurai Rebellion, but I think I'll let have to let this one pass.

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#12 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:29 pm

tartarlamb wrote:Sounds like a pretty disappointing package for $39.95.

I'm pretty sure its a typo, unless the "More!" is enough to constitute another disc.

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#13 Post by Jun-Dai » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:38 pm

I was going to blind buy this, being a huge fan of Kwaidan and Samurai Rebellion, but I think I'll let have to let this one pass.

You could always rent it, couldn't you?

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#14 Post by rlendog » Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:53 pm

Jun-Dai wrote:How the hell did they go from the correct spelling to the current misspelling of the title?

I thought the title was a transliteration of the Japanese title into English letters. If so, I don't think the title can be misspelled, since it is not intended to spell an English word in the first place.

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#15 Post by The Invunche » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:11 pm

rlendog wrote:I thought the title was a transliteration of the Japanese title into English letters. If so, I don't think the title can be misspelled, since it is not intended to spell an English word in the first place.

Except that Harakiri has become the accepted/official spelling of the title as well as the action itself. Anyway, isn't the Japanese title Seppuku?

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#16 Post by der_Artur » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:55 pm

The Invunche wrote:Anyway, isn't the Japanese title Seppuku?

Yes it is. And it is the more formal word for this act.

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#17 Post by kortik » Sat Jun 04, 2005 4:18 am

Oh my God. this is awesome I am a big big big fan of this film.
Cannot belive that this is happening.

Check out my comparison on DVD Beaver

I was so into this film that I bought the JP R2 DVD with the superb transfer but compare this to HK Panorama its and judge yourself.

I am defently getting this. Hope we get some extras etc. and a good quality transfer the same or maybe better that the JP DVD that I have.

PS nobody (not everyone) in US and other western countries know what Seppuku mean. But Harakiri is a common and recognizable word imho.

Everyone should check this film out once you see it it will blow your mind. You'll love it.

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#18 Post by Caligula » Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:26 am

golgothicon wrote:
The Invunche wrote:Anyway, isn't the Japanese title Seppuku?

Yes it is. And it is the more formal word for this act.

Help me out here: Aren't seppuku and harakiri two different things? I was always under the impression that seppuku was the female act of ritual suicide (a dagger is grasped by both hands and used to vertically slash the throat, whilst harakiri is the male version (usually performed with an assistant) where a dagger of knife is used to diagonally slash the abdomen whereafter the assistant decapitates the suicide. Or am I wrong about this? And if I am right, isn't the title a faulty translation?

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#19 Post by kortik » Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:50 am

its the same thing: Seppuku=Harakiri. Seppuku is a formal term.

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#20 Post by The Invunche » Sat Jun 04, 2005 8:06 am

Bonzai != banzai.

Just thought I'd tell you.

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#21 Post by Jun-Dai » Sun Jun 05, 2005 12:29 am

Harakiri and seppuku both refer to cutting open the stomach. They are in fact the same two characters, but in reverse order: 腹切 (harakiri) and 切腹(seppuku). The first character in harakiri (i.e., the second character in seppuku) is the character for stomach, and the second character (the first, in seppuku) is cutting. Harakiri uses what is called kunyomi, the Japanese-origin pronunciation of characters, and seppuku uses what is called onyomi, the Chinese-derived pronunciation of characters. There are a number of words like this in Japanese (synonyms where one word uses the reverse order of characters and the opposite type of pronunciation), and in general the kunyomi reading is less formal, and the onyomi version is more common in writing.

The other kind of seppuku (persuasion) uses different characters altogether. One of the reasons Chinese-derived pronunciations are less common in spoken Japanese is that there are a tremendous number of homonyms like this.

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#22 Post by dvdane » Sun Jun 05, 2005 2:38 am

If you read the title it says 切腹(Seppuku) and not Hara Kiri, which is the US title, as the American distributors changed the title, as they feared the American audience wouldn't know what Seppuku was.

This has towards the analysis of the film lead to many misreadings, as there are significant differences between the act of seppuku and the act of hara kiri.

There are strict rules for seppuku and numerous forms, some being punishment, others being protests. Contra to this, while they all are hara kiri, the act of hara kiri has no significance, and is an informal way of talking about it.

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#23 Post by kortik » Sun Jun 05, 2005 4:22 am

sweet explanations. Well lets talk about film now that we know what the title means. :lol:

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#24 Post by Godot » Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:02 am

Jun-Dai wrote:Harakiri and seppuku both refer to cutting open the stomach. They are in fact the same two characters, but in reverse order: 腹切 (harakiri) and 切腹(seppuku).

Yet another example of why you are "Member of the Year!!" Thanks for that thoroughly interesting aside. You are the freaking man.

How far back do most Japanese characters date? Are new ones still being created, or are new words written (sounded?) out with syllables?

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#25 Post by Jun-Dai » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:18 pm

I don't really know the timeframe, but I believe that Japanese characters came from China in a series of waves. I understand that it's not generally known in Japan, but that there are sub-categories of the Chinese readings of characters based on the dynasty. The most common, I think, is kan-on, or readings from the Han dynasty.

Prior to a certain point several hundred years ago, the written form of Japanese was Chinese. As an ideographic language, it is possible to have different languages with essentially the same writing system (hence Cantonese and Mandarin, which are probably further apart in many ways that Spanish and Italian), and Japanese was at one time one of these. Like the whole French/German roots of English thing, Japanese is a mix of Chinese and an older form of Japanese, where the fancy, bookish, scholarly words are of Chinese origin, and the plain, quotidian, spoken words are of Japanese origin. Thus, people are much less likely to say seppuku (unless they are emphasizing the ritual aspects of it), and they are somewhat less likely to write harakiri.

New words are constantly being created in Japanese, but they are mostly borrowed words, written in a special syllabary for borrowed words and onomatopoeia, and majority of these are borrowed from English. The number of characters used in Japanese is decreasing, and the number of English-derived words is always increasing. I certainly haven't heard of any new characters coming into the Japanese language in the last century.

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