Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Samurais, French Cinema, and Brides

Last night I had some time to kill between appointments. So I found a nice little place with a wonderful stainless steel bar the size of a house boat and sat down. Above the bar were four flat screen tvs. Usually, I don't pay much attention to these in a bar, because they only seem to play mindless sports events on them. But something was different here. There were Samurai on one.

'I love this movie', I said to the Bar Tender as he poured me some white wine.

'Seven Samurai is a great movie. But have you seen the Magnificent Seven?', he asked.

Well, yes, I had, I told him, and didn't think it was that good. A pale remake of the much better movie we were watching. But, I did watch a great 60's Japanese western on TCM that was a huge influence for Tarantino on Kill Bill.

At this point I thought to myself. Isn't this just something, to have this kind of conversation is this hip little bar. I wish more bar tenders were knowledgeable about Japanese Samurai movies. I wonder how that would look on a resume.

Well, he replied, one of the biggest influences for that movie was Fran├žois Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black (1968). With those words, I was in love with the bar tender.

I have that movie on my DVR, but haven't watched it, I admitted.

Soon ended our conversation when I had to run, but that night I put on The Bride Wore Black. Mark decided to watch it with me, even though it was French, and in sub-titles, because it must not suck if Quentin Tarantino watched it. And it was obvious parts had been totally lifted to make Kill Bill. At the end Mark sniffed, shock his head and went to bed. Tarantino obviously not the cinematic genius he had once thought.


owenandbenjamin said...

The Seven Samurai is one of my favorite movies. I have watched it several times and plan to watch it again soon. I also loved the movie Ran and several other Kurosawa movies.

Did you know that the character "Hattori Hanzo" in Kill Bill comes from a real historical figure of the same name. Hattori Hanzo was a loyal samurai retainer of Tokugawa Ieyasu prior to Ieyasu becoming shogun in 1603. Hanzo was a spy or operative for Ieyasu. It has been theorized that Hanzo was actually a ninja and that he was killed by another ninja during battle.

Heidi Schempp Fournier said...

There is something hypnotic about the Seven Samurai. Every time it comes on I want to sit down and watch it again.

I didn't know that about Hattori Hanzo. That is very interesting. It is funny the things you learn from blogging!

Have you ever read Wrong About Japan by Peter Carey? I really enjoyed it. I was also glad that I had read it when they erected that huge Gundam robot in Toyko, otherwise I would have had no idea what it was!