Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1962), based on the novel by Yosuhiko Takiguchi, is considered one of the best samurai films of all time. It's a tale of intense despair: a disgraced, out-of-work samurai with no hope for a better future goes to his feudal lord and asks permission to kill himself in the seppuku ritual (the famous stomach-cutting suicide).
His lord tells him a story, warning that he better be sincere in his wish to die and not secretly be looking for a handout. The samurai, undaunted by the warning, proceeds to tell his own story that stuns the lord and threatens to shame the core of the samurai code. To tell more would spoil the story.
In 2011, 13 Assassins director Takashi Miike remade this classic as a 3D picture titled Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai.
The movie was well received by critics and was the first 3D film to premier in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Now, Angelenos will get the privilege of seeing this new film on the big screen, as Hara-Kiri will be playing at the Downtown Independent for a couple of weeks.
Screenings of Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai begin Friday, July 20, and run through August 2. The Downtown Independent is at 251 S. Main Street. You can see showtimes and buy tickets here.
Hmmm ... did Harakiri play at the same theatre back in the 1960s, when the Downtown Independent was a Japanese-language theatre called the Linda Lea?