|Masaki Kobayashi, director of J-Horror film Kwaidan and also Samurai Rebellioin, was an important Japanese film director in the 1960s.|
Samurai Rebellion (1967)
d. Masaki Kobayashi
Criterion Collection #310
Masaki Kobayashi is better known for his early J-horror classic Kwaidan (also in the Criterion Collection), but Samurai Rebellion is impressive in its own way, with the inestimable Toshiro Mifune playing the lead role as Isaburo Sasashara, an initially faithful vassal in the late 18th century who is forced into rebellion when his liege lord first forces his son to marry a discarded mistress, then seeks her return after an untimely death makes her bastard son the next heir to the local feudal title. Like many Samurai pictures, Samurai Rebellion keeps the potential for sword play close by but reserves actual action sequences until the final act.
Instead, Samurai Rebellion is a rare-for-the-milieu classic "man against the system" tale. Kobayashi focuses his eye on the injustic of the feudal system, and his feudal Japan is a critical perspective that delves deeper into the actual feudal relations between lord and liege in a way typically absent from Japanese Samurai pictures.