» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

June 4, 2004
A few weeks ago my roommate asked me how I would define the colour blue to a blind person. My response was something along the lines of I wouldn't, because a blind person could no more describe to us the depth of colour that they sense, a figurative awareness that we could not fathom.

Zat˘ichi is a character of popular fable in Japan, and with numerous films as well as a television series he has become a hero adored by millions. Screened at film festivals including Toronto, Venice, Sundance and Vancouver, this 2003 Miramax update [with a limited theatrical release on June 4th, 2004] of the classic character has won a myriad of awards.

The titular character is an aged, blind masseur who wanders the countryside of feudal Japan; making a livelihood and shedding the blood of a mixture of villains. The particular outing of the film sees Zat˘ichi venture into a town beset with fervent gangland rivalry and, in characteristic Samurai-era fashion, a cleansing is in order. Zat˘ichi's chance meeting with two vengeful geishas, a female peasant and her nephew draw an intertwined tale with the malevolent gangs and their skillful stoic Samurai ronin.

Zat˘ichi sees the directorial return of cult figure Takeshi Kitano who also fills out the roles of the film's main character, writer and editor. Takeshi is better known to western audiences as Beat Takeshi from his previous efforts such as Sonatine and Battle Royale, which are rabid cult favourites.

From the opening scene of Zat˘ichi the audience is drawn into the world of the master swordsman. The story progresses gradually, but the dynamics of the narrative are treated with great care and engage the audience quite nicely. The interspersed humour is derived and serves the nature of the film very well in toning down the formality of several scenes. Zat˘ichi delivers spellbinding hyper-kinetic action accompanied deftly by Keiichi Suzuki's marvelous score; which often opts for contemporary musical sensibilities over traditional. Takeshi also injects some modern ideals and issues into the folds of this film, making for a superb augmentation of a conventional samurai genre film.

Through the muted moments the various supporting characters, all aspects of Zat˘ichi are all well developed and the audience enjoys a sense of warmth that builds throughout and flourishes in the grand slam finale. Zat˘ichi is not to be missed by lovers of contemporary high- octane Japanese cinema and purists who hold films such as Yojimbo and Sanjuro in high regard.

SEE ALSO > www.office-kitano.co.jp/zatoichi

Abi Huynh
A contributing writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Abi Huynh enjoys film and music that most people criminally ignore.

See other articles by Abi Huynh.



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