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(2009-10-20 16:44:01)



分类: 日本


The Seven Samurai 七武士

Release Date: 1954

Roger Ebert / Aug 19, 2001 罗杰.艾伯特/819日,2001

Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" (1954) is not only a great film in its own right, but the source of a genre that would flow through the rest of the century. The critic Michael Jeck suggests that this was the first film in which a team is assembled to carry out a mission--an idea which gave birth to its direct Hollywood remake, "The Magnificent Seven," as well as "The Guns of Navarone," "The Dirty Dozen" and countless later war, heist and caper movies. Since Kurosawa's samurai adventure "Yojimbo" (1960) was remade as "A Fistful of Dollars" and essentially created the spaghetti Western, and since this movie and Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress" inspired George Lucas' "Star Wars" series, it could be argued that this greatest of filmmakers gave employment to action heroes for the next 50 years, just as a fallout from his primary purpose.

黑泽明执导的“七武士”(1954)不仅是一部伟大的电影,而且它开创的风格还席卷了整个世纪。评论家迈克尔.杰克认为,组建一支队伍去完成一项使命,这在电影史上还是第一次 – 这个想法立即掀起了好莱坞翻拍浪潮,如“七侠荡寇志”(The Magnificent Seven)、纳瓦隆大炮(The Guns of Navarone)、十二金刚(The Dirty Dozen)以及不计其数的战争、犯罪、警匪等类型影片。自黑泽明的武士历险影片“用心棒”被翻拍成“荒野大镖客”以来,从中提炼创造出了意大利面条式的西部片,同时,这部电影和黑泽明的“战国英豪”,启发了乔治.卢卡斯,后者拍摄了“星球大战”系列,因此,有理由相信,这位最伟大的电影导演在下一个50年里,除了为众多动作明星提供在银幕上一展身手的机会外,还有,他的首要目标折射出的光芒,影响着一代又一代电影人。

That purpose was to make a samurai movie that was anchored in ancient Japanese culture and yet argued for a flexible humanism in place of rigid traditions. One of the central truths of "The Seven Samurai" is that the samurai and the villagers who hire them are of different castes and must never mix. Indeed, we learn that these villagers had earlier been hostile to samurai--and one of them, even now, hysterically fears that a samurai will make off with his daughter. Yet the bandits represent a greater threat, and so the samurai are hired, valued and resented in about equal measure.


Why do they take the job? Why, for a handful of rice every day, do they risk their lives? Because that is the job and the nature of the samurai. Both sides are bound by the roles imposed on them by society, and in To the Distant Observer, his study of Japanese films, Noel Burch observes: "masochistic perseverance in the fulfillment of complex social obligations is a basic cultural trait of Japan." Not only do the samurai persevere, but so do the bandits, who continue their series of raids even though it is clear the village is well-defended, that they are sustaining heavy losses, and that there must be unprotected villages somewhere close around. Like characters in a Greek tragedy, they perform the roles they have been assigned.


Two of the movie's significant subplots deal with rebellion against social tradition. Kikuchiyo, the high-spirited samurai played by Toshiro Mifune as a rambunctious showoff, was not born a samurai but has jumped caste to become one. And there is a forbidden romance between the samurai Katsushiro (Isao Kimura) and a village girl (ironically, the very daughter whose father was so worried). They love each other, but a farmer's daughter cannot dream of marrying a ronin; when they are found together on the eve of the final battle, however, there are arguments in the village to "understand the young people,'' and an appeal to romance--an appeal designed for modern audiences and unlikely to have carried much weight in the 1600s when the movie is set.

影片有两个重要的情节铺垫,很好地反映了对社会传统的抗争。菊代千,一位勇敢、暴烈,精力充沛的武士,由三船敏郎扮演,粗鲁、好炫耀。他并不是出生在武士世家,而是从排他性的社会阶层向上一跃,成了武士;一段被禁止的浪漫,在武士Katsushiro(Isao Kimura)和村里的姑娘之间展开(具有讽刺意味的是,她就是那个歇斯底里、非常担心的父亲的女儿)。他们相爱了,不过,很难相像,农民的女儿会嫁给一个浪人。决战前夜,人们发现他们在一起,于是,村里炸开了锅,焦点很明确:“理解年轻人”,然而,他们的浪漫,是设计给现代观众看的,不太可能在电影设定的17世纪(1600s)的古代日本产生任何影响。

Kurosawa was considered the most Western of great Japanese directors (too Western, some of his Japanese critics sniffed). "The Seven Samurai" represents a great divide in his work; most of his earlier films, Jeck observes, subscribe to the Japanese virtues of teamwork, fitting in, going along, conforming. All his later films are about misfits, noncomformists and rebels. The turning point can be seen in his greatest film, "Ikiru" (1952), in which a bureaucrat spends his days in the rote performance of meaningless duties but decides when he is dying to break loose and achieve at least one meaningful thing.


That bureaucrat was played by Takashi Shimura--who, incredibly, also plays Kambei, the leader of the seven samurai. He looks old and withered in the 1952 picture, tough and weathered in this one. Kurosawa was loyal to his longtime collaborators, and used either Shimura, Mifune, or often both of them, in every movie he made for 18 years.



In "The Seven Samurai," both actors are essential. Shimura's Kambei is the veteran warrior, who in an early scene shaves his head to disguise himself as a priest in order to enter a house where a hostage is being held. (Did this scene create the long action-movie tradition of opening sequences in which the hero wades into a dangerous situation unrelated to the later plot?) He spends the rest of the movie distractedly rubbing his bristling head during moments of puzzlement. He is a calm, wise leader and a good strategian, and we follow the battles partly because he (and Kurosawa) map them out for us, walk us through the village's defenses and keep count as the 40 bandits are whittled down one by one. Mifune's character, Kikuchiyo, is an overcompensator. He arrives equipped with a sword longer than anyone else's and swaggers around holding it over his shoulder like a rifleman. He is impulsive, brave, a showoff who quickly assembles a fan club of local kids who follow him around. Mifune was himself a superb athlete and does some difficult jumps and stunts in the movie, but his character is shown to be a hopeless horseman. (As a farmer's son, Kikuchiyo would not have had an opportunity as a youth to learn to ride.) One running gag involves Kikuchiyo's inability to master an unruly local horse; there is a delightful moment where horse and rider disappear behind a barrier together, and emerge separately. The movie is long (207 minutes), with an intermission, and yet it moves quickly because the storytelling is so clear, there are so many sharply defined characters, and the action scenes have a thrilling sweep. Nobody could photograph men in action better than Kurosawa. One of his particular trademarks is the use of human tides, sweeping down from higher places to lower ones, and he loves to devise shots in which the camera follows the rush and flow of an action, instead of cutting it up into separate shots. His use of closeups in some of the late battle scenes perhaps was noticed Orson Welles, who in "Falstaff'' conceals a shortage of extras by burying the camera in a Kurosawian tangle of horses, legs, and swords.

在‘七武士’中,两名演员都很出色。志村扮演的岛田勘兵卫,是一名退休武士,在影片开始的一场戏中,他把头发刮干净,伪装成和尚,进入房舍救人。(这一场戏是否开创了动作电影中首次使用连续镜头的先河? - 他猛地冲进险境,却不知道里面发生了什么)之后, 只要一困惑拿不定主意,他就揉搓毛发浓密而又坚硬的后脑壳。他是个冷静、睿智的领导者,出色的战略家。我们来到战场,部分原因在于他(和黑泽明)为观众勾勒出的作战计划,他带领大家穿越村庄视察防御阵地,精算出40个土匪如何一个接一个地被消灭。三船敏郎扮演的角色,菊代千,是个过偿的人。他出现时,佩剑比任何人都长,还扛在肩上,走起路来大摇大摆地像个枪手,好冲动,勇敢,爱炫耀,很快,他组织了一群祟拜他、围着他转的当地小孩。三船敏郎曾是位优秀的运动员,影片中,一些高难度的跳跃以及许多惊险动作他都亲历亲为,不过,他扮演的角色定位是一位无可救要的骑士。(菊代千是农民的儿子,年青时没机会学习骑术)有一场很滑稽:一匹马惊了,他束手无策。于是,出现了讨人喜欢的一刻 - 马和骑手双双消失在围栏后面,然后又分别出来。影片很长,有207分钟,中间还有一段休息时间,不过,故事讲得清晰明了,人物形象栩栩如生,动作极快、场面惊心动魄。黑泽明拍摄人物的技巧无人能比。黑泽明影片风格独到,其中,尤其擅长对人物势能的抓拍,从高处向下一跃,进行突袭,同时他酷爱设计跟拍镜头,比如尾随一场行动的整个过程,夹杂其中,捕捉动态瞬间,而不是切割成一个个独立单元。在随后的战斗中,黑泽明运用了特写镜头,也许还引起了奥森.韦尔森的注意,后者在“法尔斯塔夫”中,采用黑泽明式的混乱场面 - 群马、四蹄和刀剑,用隐藏摄影机拍摄,巧妙地掩盖了临时演员不足的问题。


Repeated viewings of "The Seven Samurai" reveal visual patterns. Consider the irony, for example, in two sequences that bookend the first battle with the bandits. In the first, the villagers have heard the bandits are coming, and rush around in panic. Kambei orders his samurai to calm and contain them, and the ronin run from one group to the next (the villagers always run in groups, not individually) to herd them into cover. Later, after the bandits have been repulsed, a wounded bandit falls in the village square, and now the villagers rush forward with delayed bravery to kill him. This time, the samurai hurry about pushing them back. Mirrored scenes like that can be found throughout the movie.


There is also an instinctive feeling for composition. Kurosawa constantly uses deep focus to follow simultaneous actions in the foreground, middle and background. Often he delineates the distance with barriers. Consider a shot where the samurai, in the foreground, peer out through the slats of a building and across an empty ground to the sight of the bandits, peering in through the slats of a barrier erected against them. Kurosawa's moving camera often avoids cuts in order to make comparisons, as when he will begin on dialogue in a closeup, sweep through a room or a clearing, and end on a closeup of another character who is the point of the dialogue.


Many characters die in "The Seven Samurai," but violence and action are not the point of the movie. It is more about duty and social roles. The samurai at the end have lost four of their seven, yet there are no complaints, because that is the samurai's lot. The villagers do not much want the samurai around once the bandits are gone, because armed men are a threat to order. That is the nature of society. The samurai who fell in love with the local girl is used significantly in the composition of the final shots. First he is seen with his colleagues. Then with the girl. Then in an uncommitted place not with the samurai, but somehow of them. Here you can see two genres at war: The samurai movie and the Western with which Kurosawa was quite familiar. Should the hero get the girl? Japanese audiences in 1954 would have said no. Kurosawa spent the next 40 years arguing against the theory that the individual should be the instrument of society.

“七武士”里,很多人死了。不过,影片的核心不是暴力和打斗,而是责任和社会角色。最后,七个人中有四人阵亡,然而他们毫无怨言,因为这是武士的命运。一旦土匪被打败了,村民们也就不需要武士了,要知道全副武装的人,对秩序是个威胁,这是社会本质。最后一组镜头中,相当程度上聚焦在爱上村里姑娘的武士身上。首先,看到他和武士们在一起,然后和那个女孩,再然后在一个无拘无束的地方,武士们并不在身边,然而却以某种方式和他们在一起。在这里,我们看到了两种风格:武士电影和黑泽明相当熟悉的西部片。 英雄抱得美人归了吗?在1954年,那个年代,日本观众会说:“不”。黑泽明用接下来的40年与这个理论抗争。这个理论就是个人是社会的工具。


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