Ken (1964)

May 12, 2008

This is most definitely the best kendo movie you will ever see.

The story is about the preparation of a kendo club for the national championship and the training and rivalries within the club.

Full of scenes of clattering bamboo swords and young men screaming and lunging at each other, director Kenji Masumi, who is probably best known for his entries into the Zatoichi and Lone Wolf series, manages to create significant tension out of very simple situations. In some ways this film reminded me of some of Kurosawa’s lesser efforts. Which is of course a good thing.

The lead is played by Raizo Ichikawa, who is known for his Sleepy Eyes of Death films. Here however, he far surpasses all the other roles I have seen him in. He really does a marvellous job as the club captain whose only purpose at life is to win at kendo.

剣 - Ken (1964)

 


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