Harakiri, a.k.a Seppuku
Most movies in this subforum are very recent. I wanted to bring attention to a piece that's a bit older. Harakiri is a dark, angry, bitter film about Samurai honor culture and the people that are left behind when society undergoes an economic shift. It's not a film I'd want to see every day, but it's a masterpiece of storytelling. As we watch Hanshiro Tsugumo, a ronin, and Kageyu Saito, the proud lord of the Iyi House, converse before Tsugumo commits ritual suicide, we are witness to a battle of ideas. What is the good life? What is a man's duty? What is honor? Which of these men will be the model for the future of Japan, and which one will be the model for our own lives? True to its name, this film also contains one of the most unsettling and disturbing suicides ever put to film.
Harakiri won the Jury Prize (2nd place) at Cannes 1963, but it's still not very widely seen. Frankly, that's a shame, because the film is extremely powerful and accessible, with story as tragic and elegant as nearly anything in Classical Greek literature. One of the best films I've ever seen.