Thursday, May 3, 2007
SFiFF2007 - Hana (花よりもなほ)
After the deeply moving "Nobody Knows" ("誰も知らない") and the philosophical "After Life" ("ワンダフルライフ"), Japanese director Kore-Eda Hirokazu (是枝裕和) travels 300 years back, and brings back us a period samurai drama: "Hana" ("花よりもなほ," Japan 2006, 127 min., shown at the 50th SFiFF).
Sozaemon is a poor young samurai who is more affluent with a pen than a sword. After his father was killed, following a samurai's tradition, he comes to Edo (now Tokyo) seeking revenge for his late father. However, to avenge is not really what Sozaemon wants for his life. Falling in love with a widow makes him even question more about the existence of samauri, and the meaning behind the endless killing cycle.
It's a surprise to see director Kore-Eda making a samurai comedy about a samurai who doesn't know much about swordplay. But I am not surprised to receive the message delivered by the film's cheerful melodrama characters. In the film, people wonder why samurai exists at all while they don't produce any product nor sell any merchant. Shouldn't we ask the same question about the military?
They live to kill, and be killed, and kill, and be killed... What about try to brace lives for a change?
However, I didn't expect how light the film is. I am disappointed because I had a much higher expectation before the screening. I feel less satisfied.