Let me just start by saying that I’m aware of my reputation as an Asiaphile, and it annoys even me. I’m also aware of my capacity to annoy others with it, but shit, you can’t help what you like. It’s like those women who just will not let the designer tracksuit look die, although the halcyon days of expressing your personality through bi-syllabic overstatements (juicy! hottie! princess!) splashed across your ass are deader than Elvis and about as dignified as being found drug-addled and expired on a toilet. I’m sure if you were to ask them, they couldn’t tell you why they’re so endeared to overpriced, unflattering loungewear. The same as I proabably can’t give you a straight answer as to why I prefer okonomiyaki to omelettes and like kimchi better than coleslaw, but I just chalk it up to familiarity and its keen ability to foster contempt. Uh, and the fact that I hate mayonnaise.
Anydamn way, IFC plays old Samurai movies on Saturday mornings, and to me it’s like the greatest thing ever. Right now, they’re doing the Samurai trilogy (1954 – 1956) based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s story of Musashi Miyamoto, the greatest swordsman in Japanese history.
Seriously, these movies are like my Saturday Morning Cartoons. They come on at, like, 7 am and Mr. Panda and I eat cereal and watch them in our jammies. It’s kind of the highlight of my weekends lately. Which is kind of sad, but whatever. I love waking up to a bunch of dudes in complicated outfits with even more complicated hairdos musing about war and valor (in Japanese, of course). There’s nothing like being 1/2 asleep, cradling my cup of coffee like a newborn kitten, and, through sleep-blurred eyes, watching the gorgeous Japanese landscape drift by in candy colors. 50-inch TVs were made for experiences such as this.
What I love most about these films is the gorgeous cinamatography and the nearly-intentional pastel effect of the faded Technicolor filmstock. I’m not gonna give you a full review of the films, but trust that they’re pretty emo. There’s a lot of love triangles and man-crying, but there are also some pretty cool battles and duels and shit. So, if you’re looking for something visually-stimulating to shake you out of your Netflix rut, I highly reccommend adding these films to your queue.
In the event that Samurai Saturdays are a regular thing on IFC, and not just a lucky couple of weeks for me & Mr. Panda, I’ll start giving you guys a more detailed run-down of the best vintage samurai films.