Bandits on the Wind, Inagaki. This movie is beautiful, funny, heroic. It's a shame it's not better known. At one point the most immature and pathological bandit (in a bad bunch) is forced to pretend to be a prince. The timing that shows this Japanese's inability to sit cross legged is hysterical. There's a wonderful joke where a bandit weeps to recall how peasants were forced to build a defensive wall, and then slaughtered to keep it secret. "How did you escape?" another bandit wants to know. "Escape nothing: I was one of the guys doing the killing!" The martial arts triangle defense--two katana and a spear--is stellar. The bandits blend cooperation and chaos as it suits them; in the end their Bushido is heroic.
- Jan 22, 2004
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