This Samurai classic is one of the most strikingly beautiful Japanese films ever made, marked by a fine sense of the period, and rigorously composed images which take full formal advantage of the possibilities of black-and-white wide screen photography. Hara-Kiri is a powerful attack on blind, arbitrary adherence to tradition. Using irony and counterpoint (involving flashbacks and intercutting between formal rituals and bursts of violence), the film tells a tragic story of despair and revenge.

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