Friday, September 30, 2011
Watched Kobayashi's excellent Samurai Rebellion this week. A pacifist and something of a gentle cynic, Kobayashi makes movies about the failures and inconsistencies of the samurai code. In Samurai Rebellion, for example, the injustness and capriciousness of the daimyo (the lord of a particular region) ultimately pushes one of his followers (played here by T Mifune) into open rebellion. The inciting incident involves a courtesan whom the daimyo has grown tired of. Wanting a new lover, he forces the courtesan to leave his house and asks Mifune to marry her to his son. Mifune demurs at first but then, reluctantly, agrees (he had intended to choose his son's bride for himself and resents having to take a 'fallen woman' into his household.) The courtesan and the son eventually fall deeply in love, at which time the daimyo changes his mind and calls the courtesan back to his court. At this, Mifune balks. Ultimately, a mini-war breaks out, with predictably deleterious consequences. The movie traces out Mifune's growing disillusionment and resentment toward not only his daimyo but the whole system which supports him. Really, really excellent. (Harakiri, also by Kobayashi, is similarly great.)
Have been watching 30 Rock in syndication at night of late; it’s on twice here at 11:30 and 12. Surprised to find how poorly it holds up, how much less good it seems now than it once did. Not sure exactly why and would like to figure it out. A few great episodes, of course, but... hmm. It's a lot less funny than I remember. Also Tina Fey is starting to wear thin. The fact that she frames herself as a klutz who eats all the time when she’s in fact thin, pretty, and successful may be part of it. Feels all like a ruse of some sort, I don’t know.