Love and Honour (Bushi no ichibun; 2006)
Shinnojo (Takuya Kimura) is a low-level samurai bored with his assignment as a food-taster for his emperor. Like any young husband, Shinnojo shares his work frustrations at home with his wife, Kayo (Rei Dan), and dreams of resigning his post to start a dojo that will teach fighting skills to kids in a positive environment. Shinnojo and Kayo clearly care for each other, teasing and sharing laughs just out of earshot of their longtime helper, Tokuhei (Takashi Sasano). Everything changes, however, when Shinnojo eats some bad shellfish intended for the emperor--so bad that it leaves him permanently blind. Feeling useless and facing an uncertain future, Shinnojo experiences grief and anger. Meanwhile, Kayo appeals to his family for help and is only advised to seek assistance from another samurai (Mitsugoro Bando), a man with dubious intentions toward Kayo. The fallout deeply affects Shinnojo and Kayo's marriage, and gives the former a new reason to carry on: defending his and Kayo's honor. This domestic drama by Yôji Yamada, based on a story by Shûhei Fujisawa, has the slow, somber tone both of ritual and a tragedy unfolding behind closed doors. A much more handsome than cinematically exciting movie, Love and Honor is like a silent era melodrama with visually appealing actors, a story blatantly tugging at the audience's heartstrings. A climactic fight scene gets one's adrenaline going, though nothing tops the promise of forgiveness and reconciliation for real excitement here.
Director: Yôji Yamada
Writer: Shûhei Fujisawa (novel), Yôji Yamada
Actors: Takuya Kimura, Rei Dan, Mitsugorô Bandô, Takashi Sasano
Genre: Drama | Romance