Week 5

This was the first Japanese film I have ever watched and I must admit that it was not at all what I was expecting. Shockingly enough I would probably say that my expectations were surpassed and my appreciation for the more intricate aspects of film is growing. Yojimbo is excellent to discuss mise-en-scene because the entire film plays off the attributes associated with mise-en-scene: setting, color, props, costume and make-up, lighting, and source. This film takes pace in a small town in the middle of a desert with no salvation as far as one can see. The setting adds to the film in sense that there are no firm laws, boundaries, or rules. These fugitives were living a completely ruthless life full of chaos and death. Since the only colors in the film are black and white, the lighting hints at the importance of objects while providing the audience with implications. The direction of the lighting changed throughout the entire film, emphasizing different props and or people. When the Samurai was helplessly looking for a way to hide from the other men, frontal lighting illuminated the lock on the coffin. At that moment we knew that this prop was going to aid him in escaping his death. Overall I thought side lighting was used the most frequently in Yojimbo. It really enhanced the grungy look of the characters, making them appear even filthier.  As the Samurai was crawling under the house, the lighting was very limited. However there were occasional spurts of light, indicating that there was still some hope for him. The props themselves play a significant role in the film. The Samurai is blamed for the killing of six men due to his astounding sword skills. Even though practically everyone in the town carries a sword, they knew he was the culprit.  A sword led to his near death experience, but it also permitted him to finish what he had begun and leave the town with dignity. The possession of swords by all the inhabitants in the small town just denotes its cruel nature.

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