Samurai Cinema

  • October 6, 2013 — December 22, 2013

Japanese cinema’s most enduring genre continues to entertain and inspire audiences and filmmakers internationally. Whether chanbara (action-oriented sword-fight films) or the historical jidaigeki films, the genre focuses on the mythologized samurai warriors of the 12th to 16th centuries. Like American westerns, the samurai film celebrates tales of loyalty, revenge, romance, fighting prowess, and the decline of a traditional way of life. This eclectic selection—seven Japanese films and four Western reinterpretations—spans six decades of cinema history and reveals the eternal romance of the quest of the hero. Co-sponsored by the Portland Art Museum and presented in conjunction with the exhibition Samurai! Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, admission is free for exhibition ticket holders during museum gallery hours.

Ran

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

One of the late masterpieces of Japanese master Kurosawa's long and distinguished career, Ran was inspired by Shakespeare's King Lear

Samurai Rebellion

Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

This stunning meditation on honor, duty, justice, and love, set in the 18th century, stars the magnificent Toshirô Mifune as

Harakiri

Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

Set in the Tokugawa era (1600-1868), Kobayashi's classic film is a searing indictment of the hypocrisy and exploitation of the

Onibaba

Directed by Kaneto Shindô

In war-torn 14th-century Japan, an old woman whose son has gone off to war lives with her daughter-in-law in the

Seven Samurai

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa's humanistic masterpiece of honor and courage takes place in a small 18th-century village in the Japanese countryside, where peasants

The Magnificent Seven

Directed by John Sturges

In this lean remake of SEVEN SAMURAI, Sturges transports Kurosawa's epic 18th-century jidaigeki (period drama) to mid-19th-century Mexico, near the US border.

Lady Snowblood

Directed by Toshia Fujita

Set in the late 1800s when Japan began to emerge from its feudal isolation, this cult classic features as its

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

A revenge tale with a female protagonist, blood-gushing fight scenes, animation interwoven with live action, the song “Shura No Hana”

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Directed by Jim Jarmusch

A highly idiosyncratic take on the samurai film, Jarmusch’s tale of a lone, pigeon-keeping hit man (Forest Whitaker) removes the

Yojimbo

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Set at the end of the Tokugawa era, YOJIMBO follows the rōnin Sanjuro (Toshirô Mifune) who, while wandering the countryside,

A Fistful of Dollars

Directed by Sergio Leone

The first film in Leone’s “Man with No Name” trilogy and one of the most successful spaghetti westerns of the