in conjunction with Legendary Loyalty: The 47 Ronin in Japanese Prints
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
2006, 120 min
Japanese with English subtitles
[Reservations are now closed. Thank you for your interest. We will have a rush line starting 30 minutes before the event, and will start to release unclaimed seats 10 minutes before the event. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a seat.]
Despite being set in the same location and time period of the Ako incident, Hana is a samurai revenge movie in which not much happens. If you’re expecting dramatic battle scenes and bloviating about honour, you’ll definitely be disappointed. However, if you approach it from the humanist perspective of master director’s Hirokazu Kore-eda’s best films, you’ll find a neat slice of life in the Edo slums that tears down the machismo of the jidai-geki genre with spirited populism (and a surprising amount of toilet humour).
In Hana’s Edo, unemployed peasants do a lot of hanging out, entertaining themselves with games, sparring and gossip. Their main “job” is producing manure, which their landlord sells to farmers. Soza is an unemployed samurai looking to avenge his father’s death, but he’s not highly motivated to do so. He’s basically a peaceful guy who enjoys taking baths, playing with songbirds and teaching math and writing to the neighbourhood kids. Anyway, everyone agrees that revenge is sort of “out of fashion.” In the absence of actual war, there is an annual “vengeance play” put on by the villagers; meanwhile, the legendary 47 ronin lurk in the background, grumbling and biding their time…