Director: Akira Kurosawa

An unofficial sequel to Yojimbo, Sanjuro takes Toshiro Mifune’s scruffy, flea-bitten samurai from the previous film and places him in an earlier era and a slightly less bloodthirsty story. This time his unkempt lone warrior finds himself having to save a group of naive, clean-cut young samurai and a pair of court ladies from the machinations of a villainous official. The comedy in the reactions of the boy-scoutish youngsters and the absurdly overbred ladies to Mifune’s unconventional ways is deliciously sustained. But while taking every opportunity to satirise the blind conformism of Japanese society, Kurosawa never downplays the tension; the social interplay is constantly diverting, but the dangers are very real. The film includes several rousing action sequencesoimpeccably choreographed as alwaysoand culminates in what must be the briefest and most breathtaking sword fight in the history of the movies.
Japan, 1962. English subtitles. Black and white. Anamorphic. 95 mins.

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