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Cowboys & Samurai - A Blog Series
Cowboys & Samurai - A Blog Series

Today I want to announce the start of a new blog series! It is called “Cowboys and Samurai”. In this series, I will be exploring Japanese films that are either exceptional or have been remade by American film companies. For cases that fall under the latter, I will make comparisons between the original Japanese film with the American remake. This series will also include analyses of these films and of any recommended anime series/movies that come from you! These analyses will take one or two main elements of the film as the main points of these articles because it would be very long to include everything.

Hi all!

Today I want to announce the start of a new blog series! It is called “Cowboys and Samurai”. In this series, I will be exploring Japanese films that are either exceptional or have been remade by American film companies. For cases that fall under the latter, I will make comparisons between the original Japanese film with the American remake. This series will also include analyses of these films and of any recommended anime series/movies that come from you! These analyses will take one or two main elements of the film as the main points of these articles because it would be very long to include everything.

The point of this series is to spread the word and start discussions about the Japanese film industry, which is very often underrated. The Japanese film industry is very unique and daring; it stretches far back in history and has really established itself. There are Japanese film genres that inspired the American film industry and thus explaining why Americans, especially Hollywood, remake Japanese films, and in some cases unfortunately out right plagiarize them. I wanted to start this series to also appreciate Japanese film as an art form, particularly because it gives insight into other forms of Japanese art like theater, poetry, legends/stories, and anime. This is meant to be both a fun and educational series and it would be great if readers could comment and make suggestions for films that we can look at! In any case, film enthusiasts, please grab something to drink and enjoy this adventure with me!

The first two films that we will look at are Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Yojimbo can be watched here Part 1 and Part 2A Fistful of Dollars can be watched here

Yojimbo is a jidai-geki film or a historical drama film. Already, we have an example of a film genre that is unique to Japan! Jidai-geki films usually include a samurai as the main character and they follow the samurai’s struggles and battles. There are typically very carefully choreographed sword fighting scenes and commentaries on social class and hierarchy, which should be noted are very important in Japanese culture.

Akira Kurosawa is a very well-known Japanese director who was one of the first to be recognized and highly admired by the West. He has created many respectable films such as Seven SamuraiRashomon, Throne of BloodRan, and Vendetta of a Samurai. Of course, he has many more that can be counted as honorable mentions. In fact, in his professional lifetime, Kurosawa directed a whopping 30 films and was screenwriter for another 30 films.

A Fistful of Dollars is a Western film or cowboy film, a genre that is unique to America. However, what makes this film interesting is that it was created by an Italian director, making the film what is called a Spaghetti Western. It is an interesting combination of cultures: it is based on a Japanese film (Yojimbo), following an American genre (Western), made by an Italian director (Sergio Leone).

I sincerely recommend you to watch both films! We will discuss these film in further detail in the next post of this series. Please follow Hobby Chan’s social media for a notification of when the first article of the “Cowboys and Samurai” blog series will be out!

Until next time,

Maysam Al-Ani

Maysam Al-Ani
Jun 21, 2016

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