Harakiri

Harakiri ★★★★★

95

First thing's first: giving a big thanks to Mitchell, one of my awesome Patrons, for finally forcing me to watch this fucking movie. Every so often, I'd browse through my ridiculous LB watch-list and scroll and scroll past movies that I might never get to, and then I would see the poster for Harakiri and sigh. Because it was a major blind-spot for me, and I'm happy to say that it lived up to its expectations, and of course, so much more. Director Masaki Kobayashi, who about scarred me for life with the sinister Kwaidan, finds a elegant stasis between honor and illusion, and the atmosphere floats in the air - existing in a void of space. Just on the surface, it's quite haunting, but it digs deeper in the meticulous structure of the dramatic tension, as well as what the structure reveals about the characters and when. In capturing the stripping of history and legacy, Harakiri offers a transitory evocation of human experience. It feels fleeting, here one moment and gone the next, and the only reason why I'm not rating it higher is because I don't believe I have the capacity to fully embrace it just yet. It begs for repeat viewings to not just follow the landscape of the narrative, but to observe how the film physically takes shape in blocking and setting. What a riveting experience, and such a grand accomplishment in storytelling and formal language.

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