Week 10 Blog Assignment

The western genre is one of the easiest genres to identify. In the first film we watched Django there was little emphasis on acting and the ability of the actors to relay emotions. The most useful properties of westerns would be the both extra diegetic and diegetic sound, the costumes and props and body movements of the actors.

In the first film Django, there was always an extra diegetic soundtrack to help identify the predicted emotions by the viewer. This is primarily because identifying these through the use of facial expressions was out of the actors talent range. Also the special effects of the film were terrible, and this is also a testament to the times, but every death involved a flashing of a light on the tip of a gun, a boom and a flop. There was no visible blood except in the most detailed of scenes such as when Django loses his hands. The shots in this film are primarily short and complex and the camera angles and depth are always changing. When a dramatic point would arrive in the film, there would be a cut in the music and the tone would be set by the extra diegetic soundtrack, followed by the zoom in on a characters face, that was ironically emotionless.

In the second film Django The Japanese Western, the characteristics are mostly the same, the acting as bad, and the extra diegetic soundtrack just as important. The large difference is the quality of the special effects. In the western version of the film, the special effects are a lot more advanced. Every death was a lot more bloody, the wounds a lot more detailed, and the deaths prolonged. This could be both a testament to the times and a testament to the difference in japanese westerns and American westerns. I have seen other Japanese films from earlier times and the themes are the same.

It is very interesting that Japanese Westerns and American Westerns are so similar and this was a great movie to help distinguish the difference. Both kinds have essential diegetic and extra diegetic sounds, terrible acting with mostly expressionless faces, and props that are essential to the mood and vibe of the scene. Also, the shots in these films were both short in length of time and depth, the only difference being the Japanese version was more detailed.

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4 thoughts on “Week 10 Blog Assignment

  1. The Sukiyaki Western Django definitely spiced things up in a way that most American westerns would not touch. For one thing, there was a dramatically more gruesome use of blood in the Japanese film. For another thing, there was a lot more action to go along with the blood.

    American Django, like other western films, features quick-draw gunmen and lots of death, which can be pretty dramatic. They don’t seem as gory as the Japanese film however. I know that was due to the difference in directors, but I definitely don’t remember blood splattering the whole scene in the first Django. The Sukiyaki western version thrived in bloody scenes, using swords and guns to create dramatic deaths.

    Also, characters were cunning and swift in the American Django, but the action in the Japanese version was just amazing in comparison. The characters, especially the woman, moved in epic flips and rolls, and skill varied from sword to gun to cross throwing. The action was much more played up in the Japanese film, which may have been a result of the culture difference on the genre.

  2. For me, I have had a definite mix of emotions when I was watching both films. Django was so interesting as I noticed that it did not give much to the value of life and the same as the other movies we have watched. The Sukiyaki Western Django was so weird to watch because you were watching the deaths of characters while laughing, which I noticed occurred to me while I watched the Japanese film Battle Royale. I barely was sad and any of the deaths of the characters: only laughed at the situation. I’m not sure if that is what the film is trying to do. To me Japanese films, compared to films from the west, are so weird and different that I have a difficult time comprehending them. I think it’s time they create a genre called Japanese film, because this strayed from Western so much except for the few elements that were there.

  3. Something that you point out that I hadn’t really noticed as much was the similarities in extra-diagetic sounds in both films. I really noticed it in Sukiyaki Western Django, especially at the beginning of the film when there are sound effects that are quite obviously not actually happening in the film. It made the film start off on a somewhat odd foot and seemed atypical of western films. However, what you pointed out about these sounds in Django makes sense also. Although there were obviously filmed in completely different times in terms of technology, there were more extra-diagetic sounds than I initially realized or took into consideration. Although I had found this to be a particularly bizarre aspect of Sukiyaki Western Django, it makes me rethink how different it really was from the original Django. Even though the sounds and effects may be different because of time periods and such, the similarity definitely is there and is something worth examining.

  4. I had some mixed thoughts regarding the Sukiyaki Western, but overall liked it as it completely contrasted with conventional American westerns, but shared several defining features with that of Django. For instance, the use of extra-diagetic music is very much a prominent feature, just listen to that theme, which sounds remarkably similar in both versions despite the language barrier. The character archetypes can be seen in both films; a maverick of a protagonist, warring gangs/clans, damsel, older man, and of course cannon fodder. And I believe the Japanese version takes in much more detail in utilizing their cannon fodder, which I was quite fond of.

    Now the action, while very stylized in Sukiyaki Western, is still similar to the American version in the quick pace and shots of the scene. Albeit the Japanese was somewhat more prolonged, probably best to say that it was a series of short combat scene in a rather long sequence(long when compared the conventional westerns), another aspect of the film that I enjoyed.

    Whereas the American version is quite standard and straightforward, Sukiyaki Western innovates and creates its own twist on the genre. Maybe a too large of twist, though that is debatable. Suddenly there are animated scenes, samurai swords, nonsensical movements and characters. I mean really the gun-toting women and the little boy? I just rolled my eyes in the ridiculousness of the scenes at times. But it still had it’s own charm which I appreciate, as it is a foreign film. Majority of the foreign films have been quite oddballs.

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