Another film I saw recently is Japanese director Yoji Yamada’s Twilight Samurai. It is melancholy, touching, and absolutely worth watching.
Unlike many other samurai films, Twilight Samurai does not rely on battle scenes and instead focuses on depicting the day-to-day life of the film’s hero, a low-ranking samurai who supports his daughters and senile mother with his meager wage from working in his clan’s warehouses.
With his wife’s death, the hero immediately goes home after work take care of his household, and thus is given the derogatory nickname “twilight” by his colleagues at work. This moniker carries a double meaning since those days were also the twilight of the samurai as a class.
The film gives masterful rendering of the way of life in a Japanese community shortly before the overhauling of the old feudal system with the Meiji Restoration.
The stereotyped image of the samurai is that of the honorable warrior. In Twilight Samurai, we see that it’s not all honor and glory for members of the samurai class. Many are in fact destitute and left unsupported by a rotting dispensation. This the other side that Twilight Samurai succesfully shows. ■