Movies That Changed Us: Seven Samurai

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[Movies That Changed Us is a feature we are running for the first two weeks of Flixist’s life. We’re using it as a way to let you get to know the staff of awesome writers here. But you should use it as a way to let us get to know you. Blog your own Movies That Changed Me and let us know all about your most important film experience.]

It is only fitting that the first thing I will write about just so happens to be the one movie that birthed my passion for the genre as a whole. For you see, in my humble opinion, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samuraiis the epitome of a movie that changes anybody who happens to view it. I’ll not dilly-dally too much about the circumstances that led me to my first brush with this masterpiece, just know that I was much younger, less bearded, and was enamored at that time with all things kung fu. It was through my search of the next badly dubbed martial arts shenanigan that I happened to come across this movie.

My adolescent mind at the time reasoned that any movie with the word “samurai” in

[Movies That Changed Us is a feature we are running for the first two weeks of Flixist's life. We're using it as a way to let you get to know the staff of awesome writers here. But you should use it as a way to let us get to know you. Blog your own Movies That Changed Me and let us know all about your most important film experience.]

It is only fitting that the first thing I will write about just so happens to be the one movie that birthed my passion for the genre as a whole. For you see, in my humble opinion, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samuraiis the epitome of a movie that changes anybody who happens to view it. I'll not dilly-dally too much about the circumstances that led me to my first brush with this masterpiece, just know that I was much younger, less bearded, and was enamored at that time with all things kung fu. It was through my search of the next badly dubbed martial arts shenanigan that I happened to come across this movie.

My adolescent mind at the time reasoned that any movie with the word "samurai" in it must of course be a high octane action movie. I envisioned chopped limbs and decapitations aplenty. Oh how utterly wrong I was and yet for once, I was glad of it.{{page_break}}

Even though it wasn't what I thought it would be, what I soaked in while watching it shattered to pieces the many anxieties I had back then about certain aspects of movies. I rarely watched black and white films. I thought them to be the first visual clue of impending boredom. I never gave older movies a fair shake because well, they're old for crying out loud. They were obviously all boring and certainly not relevant. I never cared for movies being subtitled either. My youthful disposition was reading dialog while watching a movie was just unnecessary work that derailed you from actually watching what was going on in the movie. I might as well just read the script to the movie, instead of watching a subtitled one, if that was to be the case. Thinking back, I am simply amazed at how dense I was regarding movies. How I was truly limiting myself from great works because of my unfounded prejudices.

To think that what would change my movie misconceptions would be the tale of a desperate farming village who seek the aid of samurai against the oppressive nature of ruthless bandits. Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samuraibegins with war drums being heard and the riding of horses by the very same bandits that look to loot a certain village bone dry. Seeing as the farmer's crops have yet to ripen to fruition, they leave to come for a later date to steal not only their harvest but the farmer's women as well. Cowering pitifully and seeing no escape from their plight, the villagers cry amongst themselves until some decide it's time to fight back. But how? They are merely poor farmers, not warriors. Seeking guidance from their wise elder, they come to the consensus that they will try to hire samurai to defend their village. Only thing is, they have nothing to offer the willing samurai they might find but a few bowls of rice.

What follows next is a race against the clock for the enlistment of said samurai before their crops are ready to be picked and the bandits return for it. Never before have I ever been as absorbed and immersed as I was with this movie. You'd think from what I just described, it doesn't sound all that special. Blame that on me. As I don't think I could write any words to truly encompass just how epic this movie is. There is so much richness, so much depth in the characters on display. So many memorable moments. Laughter, joy, death, and honor. The clashes and bursts of action are absolutely beautiful. The cinematography is just breathtaking.

I don't know what made me stay seated and not leave the theater when the opening credits first rolled because at that time, my initial inclination was to leave because it wasn't the next The Five Deadly Venoms, but as soon as it started I was snared and the movie didn't let me go until two hundred and seven minutes later. That's a long damn time for a movie yet I never once noticed its length. I just remembered the one word that popped into my head when it was all done and over. The one word that still, to this day, seems to perfectly describe Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

Wow.