Masaki Kobayashi

Harakiri

Harakiri

Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi’s clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize, Harakiri, directed by Masaki Kobayashi is a fierce evocation of individual agency in the face of a corrupt and hypocritical system.

Film Info

  • Masaki Kobayashi
  • Japan
  • 1962
  • 133 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.35:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #302

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Video introduction by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
  • Excerpt from a rare Directors Guild of Japan video interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, moderated by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
  • Video interviews with star Tatsuya Nakadai and screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Poster gallery (DVD only)
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Joan Mellen and a reprint of Mellen’s 1972 interview with Kobayashi

New cover by Miriam Bossard and Trix Barmettler

Purchase Options

On backorder, available Nov 14, 2018

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Video introduction by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie
  • Excerpt from a rare Directors Guild of Japan video interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, moderated by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
  • Video interviews with star Tatsuya Nakadai and screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Poster gallery (DVD only)
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Joan Mellen and a reprint of Mellen’s 1972 interview with Kobayashi

New cover by Miriam Bossard and Trix Barmettler

Harakiri
Cast
Tatsuya Nakadai
Hanshiro Tsugumo
Rentaro Mikuni
Kageyu Saito
Akira Ishihama
Motome Chijiiwa
Shima Iwashita
Miho Tsugumo
Tetsuro Tamba
Hikokuro Omodaka
Masao Mishima
Tango Inaba
Ichiro Nakaya
Hayato Yazaki
Kei Sato
Masakatsu Fukushima
Yoshio Inaba
Jinnai Chijiiwa
Yoshiro Aoki
Umenosuke Kawabe
Credits
Director
Masaki Kobayashi
Screenplay
Shinobu Hashimoto
Original story
Yasuhiko Takiguchi
Cinematography
Yoshio Miyajima
Editing
Hisashi Sagara
Art direction
Junichi Ozumi
Art direction
Shigemasa Toda
Music
Toru Takemitsu
Producer
Tatsuo Hosoya

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Toru Takemitsu

Composer

Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, known to Western listeners predominantly as the man behind the music in such iconic movies as Woman in the Dunes and Ran, was an acclaimed classical composer and music theorist well before he became one of his country’s most reliably brilliant scorers of film. A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned (along with Masaru Sato) to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit (1956). It wasn’t until a few years later, though, when his friend Hiroshi Teshigahara asked him to score Teshigahara’s short debut film, José Torres (1959), that Takemitsu’s career in movies truly began. The deeply sympathetic working relationship that they discovered on that project resulted in Takemitsu’s providing the haunting, instrumentally jarring themes for virtually all of Teshigahara’s subsequent output (“He was always more than a composer,” Teshigahara would recall. “He involved himself so thoroughly in every aspect of a film—script, casting, location shooting, editing, and total sound design”). Takemitsu became a go-to guy for many other major Japanese filmmakers as well, including Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri), Akira Kurosawa (Dodes’ka-den), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion); his themes remain some of the most beautiful, spectral music ever written for the screen.