Monday, September 2, 2013

The Unforgiven

Yurusarezarumono (許されざる者) is a remake of the Academy Award winning 1992 Clint Eastwood classic, Unforgiven.

The movie gives some completion to influence that Japanese cinema has had on the Western genre. Starting with Akira Kurasawa's (倉澤明) Yojimbo (用心棒) that was adapted by Sergio Leone in A Fistful of Dollars staring Clint Eastwood. Samurai films had a huge impact in shaping the Western genre, specifically the work of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, who both have left a lasting impression on the history of cinema. Eastwood's 1992 masterpiece, which he directed and starred in, was dedicated to the memory of Sergio Leone. And now completing the cinematic mobius strip, Unforgiven has now been remade in Japan as a period samurai drama.

Directed by Lee Sang-il (李相日), award winning director behind 2010's Akunin (悪人), and 2006's Hula Girls (フラガール). Starring Ken Watanabe (渡辺謙) in main role as a retired samurai who has given up his brutal past as a government swordsman looking to live a peaceful life in rural Hokkaido. It also stars veteran actor Akira Emoto (柄本明), young rising star Yuya Yagira (柳楽優弥) who won the Best Actor award at Cannes for 2004's Nobody Knows, young Sydney born Shiori Kutsuna (忽那汐里) who I know from the movie adaptation of the Beck manga and My Back Page with Kenichi Matsuyama (松山ケンイチ), and Eiko Koike (小池栄子) who appeared in the acclaimed Youkame no Semi from 2011.

The excellent casting is matched by the scenery of Hokkaido which makes a beautiful backdrop befitting the story. I'm expecting this movie to clean up at the Japanese Academy Awards this year. Definitely one to check out. Yurusarezarumono will be shown this month at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and is to be released in cinemas in Japan on September 13th.


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