By William Benker
Seven Samurai – 1954 – dir. Akira Kurosawa
The philosophical insight Akira Kurosawa unleashes in his epic Seven Samurai stands above most war films ever produced. Though the portrayal of war is common among films, the true essence of conflict itself is often times overlooked. The manner and tempo with which Kurosawa delivers his epic is where the message emerges. With a steady pace and extensive view into every facet of struggle, the director breaches the threshold of cinematic philosophy into a new realm of artistic meaning. In 16th century Japan, the framework of conflict is embodied within seven selfless warriors who use all of their abilities to defeat a clan of bandits. Kurosawa’s stark vision of life itself is extrapolated in the picture. Constantly put into question by smaller battles along the way, the director paints a decadent landscape of morality, giving audiences the very essence of cinema and story in its most ancient form. Seven Samurai is a perfect step-by-step guide into the very heart of conflict.