Polychrome Interest

A Random Blog of Everything I like

The Twilight Samurai -たそがれ清兵衛 (Tasogare Seibei)

Twilight Samurai

To live contently doesn’t mean you have to live with a lot of money.

Twilight Samurai is the humblest samurai movie I have ever seen. When I decided to watch this movie, I simply want to watch it because of Hiroyuki Sanada (I can proudly said he is one of my most favorite Japanese Actors even though I haven’t seen all his movies). I have heard that Twilight Samurai is a good movie but I never really searched to find how good it was. Right after I finished watching it, I looked for it in imdb.com and I wasn’t surprised to know that Twilight Samurai had won many awards and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at Academy Award 2004. You can see all the awards here.

Why did I say I wasn’t surprised? Because Twilight Samurai is indeed really really good. It’s so original and so different to most samurai movies that ever come across my attention. TS has a lot of heart in its story. If you are expecting a lot of sword fighting scenes in TS, you will end up disappointed but if you are looking for a warm story that shows what most samurai were on Tokugawa era…then you will find the movie satisfying.

The story was narrated by Ito, the youngest daughter of Iguchi’s family:

With a sick wife, two young daughters and an aged mother in his care, my father was unable to drink with his colleagues. He had to hurry home every evening at dusk. I was told the men he worked with gave him the cruel nickname of ‘Twilight Seibei’.

Senbei - HiroyukiIguchi Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada) was a low ranking samurai. He was more like an accountant than a soldier. When his wife died he was forced to hold a grand funeral because her family came from a wealthier family. The widower had to raise his two daughters and took care of his senile mother all by himself…but he never complained because he loved his family with all his heart.

…watching my daughters as they grow day by day is…how shall I put it? It’s like watching crops ripen or flowers grow in a field. I enjoy it very much.

His simple life was about to change when the woman from his childhood came to his house. He had been in love with her since childhood but he kept it to himself. Tomoe was married to a drunk retainer. When Tomoe’s former husband challenged her brother (her brother was the one who help with the divorce), Senbei stepped up to the challenge. Seibei and Tomoe’s brother were good friends. He defeated the man by using wooden sword.

The fight made his co-workers looked at him in different way, they used to mock him behind his back. But the fight also forced him to follow the code of samurai. He had to obey the leader of his clan to kill Zenemon Yogo.

Tomoe and SenbeiApart from that code of samurai story, we got to see how love bloomed between Tomoe and Seibei.

What made TS interesting was the way the story evolved in a natural way, the movie was 2 hours but it didn’t feel that long at all. It flowed smoothly. TS also showed the other side of low ranking samurai. They worked like white collar people, not all samurai ended up as fighter. Although I have seen/read about the honor of sword fighting between two samurais, it was still interesting to see how they honored their opponent. When Seibei was about to fight Yogo, he prepared not only his sword but also his way of dressing. And when they fight, they didn’t do it with full hatred but with honor toward each other.

Samurai era always fascinate me. Many told me that they like period movies…I don’t share their enthusiasm when it comes to Western period (when I watched Western period movies, it was pure because of the story or the cast) … my favorite period movie has always been SAMURAI period. Their culture never stopped making me amazed.

I also enjoyed the language…the way they speak sounded so different with nowadays Japanese. I could hardly understand them…it was a good way to practice my listening😉

My father had no desire to rise in the world and I don’t think he considered himself unlucky. He loved his daughters and the beautiful Tomoe loved him. His life, I think was short but full. I am proud to have had such father.

 If you haven’t watched The Twilight Samurai…DO WATCH IT!!

Movie Detail:

Director: Yôji Yamada
Writers: Yôji Yamada, Shuhei Fujisawa, Yoshitaka Asama
Starring: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa, Min Tanaka, Keiko Kishi
Music: Isao Tomita
Release: November 2, 2002
Rating: 5 stars

This is my second movie for World Cinema Series hosted by Caroline @ Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

japan

Note: If you never seen Hiroyuki Sanada before, he played in Sunshine with Cillian Murphy (one of many reasons why I love Sunshine, it has 2 favorite actors of mine), The Last Samurai (he was the reason why I watched that movie), and Rush Hour 3. He will be in 47 Ronin (again with my other favorite actor, Keanu) and The Wolverine (It will be my first time watching x-men related movie in cinema…just for Hiroyuki-sama).

This is my first Double Review with Jason @ Genkina Hito’s Blog. Jason has a great way of reviewing, unlike my way his way is very thorough. He has written more on the storyline and also highlighted the way Yamada directed the movie.  I am happy to know that he also loved the movie even though it is a full action samurai movie. What makes him likes the movie is same with me:

“It is a very well made film which tells a simple but rich and gripping story. Its power is down to the acting and the effective way the story unfolds through the script and direction.”

Do stop by at his blog and read his review to get a better perspective of the movie.🙂

It’s been nice doing this review with you, Jason. Maybe next time we can do it again🙂

About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog: http://kamekroten.wordpress.com

34 comments on “The Twilight Samurai -たそがれ清兵衛 (Tasogare Seibei)

  1. Pingback: World Cinema Series 2013 « Polychrome Interest

  2. felis catus
    February 18, 2013

    Oh, I like this movie too! You should see the others two to complete this trilogy. All of them is interesting twists of samurai genre.

    • Novroz
      February 18, 2013

      The other two? what are they? are they still Hiroyuki Sanada?
      hehe I am not a good movie researcher😉
      Glad to know you like it too Felis🙂

      • felis catus
        February 18, 2013

        The other two are: The Hidden Blade (2004) and Love and Honor (2006). Sadly, no, the other two have different actor.

        • Novroz
          February 18, 2013

          Ah…too bad😦
          Well at least they are still samurai movies, so I will watch it eventually. Thank you for sharing that🙂

  3. le0pard13
    February 18, 2013

    It’s one of my favorites, too. Glad to hear it registered with you as well, Novroz. Tell me, have you seen ‘The Hidden Blade’ by Yôji Yamada? They made a wonderful double-feature. Thanks.

    • Novroz
      February 18, 2013

      I didn’t know you have seen this one, Mike. So happy to know you like it too.
      No, I haven’t seen that one yet…but now that you’ve mentioned it, I will make sure I find it. Thanks🙂

  4. Caroline
    February 18, 2013

    This sounds wonderful, Novia, Thanks so much for the review. I’d really like to see this. I like the actor as well, I have seen both Sunshine and The Last Samurai. I find it interesting that it is a Samurai movie involving less sword fights, it shows new aspects I wasn’t aware of.

    • Novroz
      February 18, 2013

      He has oozing charisma😉
      I first saw him in Ringu and like him straight away, I am glad he captured your attention on Sunshine and The Last samurai. I think you’ll like Twilight Samurai, not an action movie at all…more like family or love story.

  5. Pingback: The Twilight Samurai | Genkinahito's Blog

  6. aliceaudrey
    February 19, 2013

    The title sounds familiar, but from your review I can tell it’s all new to me. I like samurai movies as much as any other period, and will probably enjoy this one.

    • Alice Audrey
      February 19, 2013

      Tsk. I would forget to fix my sig line.

      • Novroz
        February 19, 2013

        I tried to fix it but it didn’t work😦 the image is still that character with love eyeglasses.

        Maybe it sounds familiar because of its nomination in Oscar. I think you will enjoy it, it shared more than just sword-fights and/or revenge theme. It is about being content.

        • Alice Audrey
          March 1, 2013

          I added it to my Netflix queue.

          • Novroz
            March 2, 2013

            Please let me know what you think of it after you’ve seen it🙂

          • Alice Audrey
            March 5, 2013

            Will do.

  7. TBM
    February 19, 2013

    Sounds like a good one to watch. I watched the film Rashoman last night–this one sounds better.

    • Novroz
      February 25, 2013

      I haven’t watched Rashomon😦
      I will one day.

  8. Genki Jason
    February 19, 2013

    Great review!

    I think you’ve got the film totally when you says it’s about being content and you used an excellent word to describe this with humble.

    I was expecting more of an action oriented film with lots of sword fighting and posturing but it’s a great drama about finding happiness and working hard to maintain it even in the face of fierce opposition. The fact that our lead characters are genuinely real and loveable people makes this film a cut😉 above most samurai films I have seen! Plus the direction and set design and all the other technical aspects are dead on perfect. Hiroyuki Sanada is an ace actor!

    Doing the double-review was fun. Let me know when you want to do it again and we’ll schedule something!🙂

    • Novroz
      February 20, 2013

      Thank you Jason🙂 yours is better in my opinion.
      When I saw Seibei, I knew I would use that word in my review…it’s so nice seeing how humble a samurai can be.

      To be honest…I was also expecting something like 13 assassins but to my own surprise, I really enjoy the drama and not disappointed at all at how lack of fighting scenes this movie has. Hear hear!! I like him straight away when I saw him as Ryuji, as I once said it in one of my posts (I forgot which one), he has an oozing charisma.

      Let’s do it again!!🙂 What film should we do? I wish you have watched Kenshin (I have watched and reviewed it). Have you seen Detroit Metal City? I have it and haven’t had time to watch it yet.

      • Genki Jason
        February 21, 2013

        I’ll have to order Detroit Metal City since I don’t have that one. It just so happens that my next movie purchase date is some time next week😉 I may also get the anime.

        • Novroz
          February 21, 2013

          Yaaiii \(^_^)/ let’s review it together again!
          My friend told me the movie is very funny.

          • Genki Jason
            February 21, 2013

            I’ll let you know when it arrives. It may be a while since it’s coming from the US 5-14 business days.

          • Novroz
            February 21, 2013

            I will wait🙂

          • Genki Jason
            February 21, 2013

            I’m going to Japanese class now! さよなら!

          • Novroz
            February 21, 2013

            頑張れ!!! \(^_^)/

  9. Fariz
    February 21, 2013

    I haven’t watched this film but been hearing great reviews for it, you even gave it 5 stars! Now I’m more curious to watch it (but I still have loads of films that I haven’t watched -_-). Well, I’m not really that familiar with Japanese films (except horrors), let alone Samurai-themed ones. As I recall, the only Samurai films I’ve seen are Seven Samurai and…The Last Samurai, which is not really a Japanese film haha Anyway, thanks for the recommendation, miss🙂

    • Novroz
      February 22, 2013

      Ah…too bad! You’re missing a lot…Japanese movies are often better than Hollywood’s. They often have unpredictable plot and far from being cliche.

      Hehehe I haven’t watched Seven Samurai…I am a bit reluctance when it comes to black and white movies…but I am planning to watch it one day. As for The Last Samurai, I probably wouldn’t watch it if Sanada is not in it😉

      Hope you’ll give Twilight Samurai a look, Fariz

  10. Have been meaning to watch this for more than a year. After I saw 13 Assassins I went on a samurai marathon but just never got to watch this but it’s still at the top of my Neflix instant queue. That settles it…I’m watching it this weekend:) Thanks Nov!

    • Novroz
      February 28, 2013

      Please let me know if you already watch it🙂
      I am curious to read what you think of it as it isn’t some macho samurai movie.

  11. Pingback: Detroit Metal City – One Funny Live Action Movie | Polychrome Interest

    • Novroz
      December 10, 2013

      Thank you for the links🙂

  12. Pingback: World Cinema Series 2013 – Wrap up and Winner Announcement | Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

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