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HARAKIRI (1962) - 'Samurai Sundays' in partnership with LEAFF

Harakiri, 1962

Harakiri, 1962

Sunday 27th October, Deptford Cinema

Doors open @ 7.00pm, Film starts @ 7.30pm

Tickets: £6.00 Full / £4.50 concessions

director: Masaki Kobayashi

starring: Tatsuya Nakadai

year: 1962

country: Japan

run-time: 133 mins

rating: 15


A period of relative peace in 17th century Japan leads to the breakup of the clan system and plunges many samurai into unemployment and poverty; the only honourable solution to which according to the code of bushido is to seek out a high ranking palace to perform the ritual suicide, seppuku. However some ronin are exploiting this practice for financial gain, in the hope that the feudal lord will see their undying commitment to the code and employ them instead.

When an impoverished and world-weary ronin named Hanshiro arrives at the residence of the Li clan to request a death befitting of a samurai, he is told about the agonising and humiliating fate of Motome, the last visitor who tried to exploit the clan in this way.

Unbeknownst to the clan however, Hanshiro is already well aware of the tale.…

Masaki Kobayashi’s films often commented on the less honourable side of bushido (and wider Japanese society in general); the rigidity of its system, the hypocrisy of blind loyalty, and of course, the brutal violence.

Harakiri is no exception.

The ‘Samurai Sundays’ season has been programmed by Peter Blunden, and is kindly supported by the London East Asia Film Festival.

Check out the full ‘Samurai Sundays’ lineup here