August 28, 2010

Above is a part of “Zatoichi Challenged,” the 17th film in the series, and one of my favorites. To me, the movie is just as much about art as it is about swordsmanship. The plot revolves around Zatoichi finding a boy and his sick mother on his travels. The mother dies and with her last words asks Zatoichi to find the boy’s father, Shokichi, and bring him his son. Shokichi is a talented artist, has been captured by a gang and is forced to create beautiful and (illegal) erotic paintings. At 3:40 in the clip here, Zatoich finally gets to talk to Shokichi and tells him that he has a son. The father doesn’t seem too excited about the information until Zatoichi shows him how skilled an artist the child is. That Zatoichi has been lied to about the subject of the child’s portrait makes the scene even that much more powerful.

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