Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival; Academy Award Nominations for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Black-and-White) and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White
Date of Release
Setting and Context
A farming village in Japan during the Sengoku Period
Narrator and Point of View
Point of view is third person omniscient, but at various times the audience is meant to identify with certain characters, in particular Kikuchiyo, Kambei, and Katsushirō.
Tone and Mood
Dramatic, desperate, urgent, but at times playful
Protagonist and Antagonist
Protagonists are the samurai and the antagonists are the bandits who seek to kill them. Within other minor conflicts we also see other protagonist/antagonist relationships: Manzo is the antagonist and Shino is the protagonist in their storyline, for example.
The bandits have decided to ambush a farming town to forcibly take their food and kidnap any women they desire. The farmers decide to fight back this time.
The final battle between the bandits and the samurai and villagers, in which two of the samurai (including our antihero, Kikuchiyo) die.
Kambei cuts off his top knot, a selfless act to help a child in danger. This tells us about his morality, and foreshadows that he will be the samurai that first agrees to help defend the villagers.
Kikuchiyo's fake birth certificate shows us that he may not know his identity, and foreshadows the revelation that he was born a farmer and his identification with the orphaned child in the second part of the film.
Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques
Use of telephoto lenses and multiple camera setups for filming action scenes.
Kikuchiyo's idea of what makes a samurai for much of the film (one's birth), is paradoxically one of the things that prevents the other honorable samurai from considering him a samurai.
Parallel editing during the night before the final battle shows several events all happening at roughly the same time: Katsushiro's and Shino's sexual encounter, the villagers celebrating with sake and food, Manzo's search for Shino, and Kikuchiyo sitting sullenly by the grave and chugging sake. They also all carry a similar mood and convey the same feeling of an unknown future the following morning, and their possible destruction.
Seven Samurai Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Seven Samurai is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.