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Japan (MIFF 2005, Uchida Tomu)

Director: Uchida Tomu

A key work of post-war Japanese cinema, A Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji broke with conventions of the samurai film through its strong critique of warrior 'ethics'. Witty and generally light-hearted (although with a surprisingly dark finale), A Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji could also be characterised as a road movie. Young samurai Kojuro makes the long journey to Edo, accompanied by his spear-carrier, Gonpachi, and his servant - both loyal to a fault. A little boy convinces the gruff Gonpachi to let him tag along and learn the way of the spear. He is the first of many colourful characters they meet along the way. With its intricately interwoven plots and subplots, its constant movement and broad spectrum of characters, A Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji is now regarded as an undisputed masterpiece. "This simple tale, about a samurai delivering a tea cup to Edo, becomes a sprawling, digressive epic whose culmination shocked the Japanese audiences of its time with its sheer vehemence." - Rotterdam Film Festival

D Uchida Tomu P Tamaki Jun'ichiro S Yahiro Fuji, Tamikdo Toshio WS Toei Company Ltd L Japanese w/English subtitles TD 35mm/ B&W/1955/94mins

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