Week Five Blog

Looking at mise-en-scene, Yojimbo was ideal as there were so many complex elements to the film to talk about. The use of the setting, the props, the costumes, and lighting to tell the story was intricate.

In the beginning of the film, The Samurai was strolling along the fields. The aimlessness was expressed by the wooden stick that he threw to show him the direction to walk. The setting was natural and light, but once he arrived to the village, the shadows were dark and a lot of sharp contrast was emphasized. The settings in the movie was all natural, and daylight was used often. It made the situation much more realistic.

There is an important use of props, such as the stick mentioned before. Each one emphasized a few points. The swords and costuming in the movie was the line between the japanese film and the western film. When the pistol was added, there was power in the hands of Unosuke and it also was a connection between the japanese film and westerns. There was the last scene in Yojimbo where the Samurai was standing facing the Gunfighter in the middle of the town. The dust and sand was blowing and one was holding the pistol. That scene was western, and somehow it worked well in japanese.

The costumes and make up was very stylized in the japanese feudal era. The blacks were very emphasized, therefore the scheme was dark and the clothes were either gray or black. The high contrast and low key lighting allowed for emphasis on the features of the face. It gave the effect of heavy make up, although there was definitely less expressionism compared to the previous films we have seen.

Yojimbo was a bit difficult to understand and grasp fully at the beginning. I have not seen many westerns, therefore it was hard to get the connections between the two. At least, not until they are completely obvious. It’s hard to believe the western styled film works with the japanese era, but it does! Overall, great movie!


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