June 17th, 2004

The Hidden Fortress

A happy film- and almost entirely shot in the open air.

Much is made of the connection with Star Wars. George Lucas acknowledges that R2D2 and C3PO are versions of Kurosawa's two peasant farmers.

But notice the difference. Lucas's droids are sweet-natured, plucky and as cuddly as things entirely made of metal can be. K's farmers are thieves and cowards and wannabe rapists- a kind of punk Laurel and Hardy.

Hidden Fortress is a much better film than Star Wars. Need it be said? Yes it needs. Star Wars gets voted the greatest movie of all time these days.

As so often with K the women say little but provide the moral centre. The all but mute servant girl is braver than any samurai.

Moments of extreme movement- horses galloping, armies deploying, figures running through the woods.
Moments of extreme stillness- three figures tied to stakes, a fourth looking on; The princess sings.

I want a hat like Mifune's. Lacquered steel with a half moon soldered to the crown. To write a LiveJournal is to be a ronin. You have to be prepared to point your spear and go "aaaaargh" when other samurai come barging into the frame.