Kagemusha (1980)

(In French, On TV, June 2017) I tried. I really tried. I’m not a Cahiers du Cinema subscriber, but that doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to take a look at classics and see what they’re about. But Kagemusha has defeated me. It shouldn’t be a struggle to watch the film: it’s got intrigue, historical detail, colourful costumes and the legendary director Akira Kurosawa at the helm. And yet, despite everything, I was bored stiff by the movie, and it happened from the very first moments, which features a five-minute static shot of three characters speaking. My interest in the movie kept wandering despite my best attempts at staying focused. No success: I bounced hard off the historical context, found the direction uninspiring compared to what it tries to portray, and the pacing to be worse than glacial. I know I dozed off at some point, but I can’t say for how long. It may have been forever, because the rest of the film certainly felt like forever. Ending on a downer note doesn’t really help either. It’s a good thing I’m not a member of any serious movie critic’s organization, because I’m pretty such I’d have to resign if ever it became known that I couldn’t stay interested in a Kurosawa film.

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