Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi revisits an oft-told historical event in his visually glorious The Loyal 47 Ronin. Released just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Mizoguchi was strong-armed into directing the film by a government wishing to inspire loyalty among its people as Japan sank deeper into World War II.
In the Japanese feudal society of 1701, the honour code of the samurai is slowly becoming irrelevant as provincial laws, nepotism and bureaucracy replace tradition and ritual. After a dispute at court ends with the Samurai master Lord Asano sentenced to perform hara-kiri (or, ritual suicide), his samurai protegés are reduced to the state of ronin (masterless samurai). But the ronin have devised a plot to avenge their master's honour: a final, noble act of revenge.
Audio commentary by Dr Adrian Martin
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