Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sight & Sound Challenge: Seven Samurai (1954)

Film: Seven Samurai (7/250)
Critics Poll: 17th
Directors Poll: 17th
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

The first time I saw any of this movie was in my college film history class, just about ten years ago. The teacher showed us a half hour of it, and then a half hour of The Magnificent Seven. I don't know what the point of teasing us like that was, but until I finally watched Seven Samurai recently, I hadn't gotten around to revisiting either film. Maybe the run-time was putting me off...at 3 hours and 28 minutes, this film is no joke. I happened to have a free evening at home with no distractions and a roommate willing to get pizza so not even dinner prep could distract me from this undertaking.

I love how this film looks. The photography is beautiful and every shot looks intentional. I especially love the final shot and the scenes leading up to it. Like I said, the run-time is intimidating, but once you settle in, it carries you right along. The characters are memorable, their world makes sense, and you really root for the warriors to prevail.

Okay, confession time: I have a hard time getting through movies. "WHAT??? But that's your THING!!" you are undoubtedly thinking. The thing is I wake up at 5 AM for work every day, and even on weekends I seem to be incapable of sleeping in or taking proper naps. So when I'm nice and comfy on the couch watching a movie, no matter how amazing it is, that's when my brain decides that it's naptime. Oftentimes I combat it by whipping out my phone and "Interneting" while movie watching to stay awake and alert, but it's sadly left me with a diminished attention span. Something I'm working on with this challenge is really devoting my full attention to the film that I'm watching with minimal distractions, as best as I can. I won't beat myself up if I slip now and again, especially with films I've seen before, but it's something I'm actively working on. Seven Samurai tested me a bit on that, but I successfully stayed awake the whole time and there was only one scene that I had to go back and rewatch because I was busy reading something on my phone! However I got through it, I'm glad I finally saw this and I'm excited to revisit one of Kurosawa's other films on the list, Rashomon (which I most definitely slept through the last time, sigh!)

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