Elegance & Bloodshed – Japanese Sword Fighting Films from the 1960s
Next to anime, sword-fighting films are probably the genre most readily associated with Japanese cinema. Recent years, however, have seen a noticeable decline in their number and quality. This is a good reason to look back to when the genre was flourishing in the 1960s. While movies during WWII tended to focus on a warrior’s loyalty towards his master and the immediate post-war films highlighted the sentiment of harmony and considerateness, the 1960s brought about a much darker approach: the warrior as an individual, relentlessly pursuing their own needs. These predominantly darker and more conflict-driven stories called for a different stylistic approach. Thus, the films from the 1960s tend to be more nihilistic and bleak in contrast to their kabuki-inspired predecessors.
In cooperation with the Japan Foundation Tokyo and Japanisches Kulturinstitut Köln