Friday, July 28, 2023

The Legend and Butterfly (2023) Japan Cuts 2023

This is an epic fictionalized romance between Oda Nobunaga  his wife, Nohime over a thirty year span from their meeting until the end of their lives.

While Nobungaga was one of the great leaders of Japan and he helped move the country toward unification, pretty much nothing is known about Nohime so the filmmakers have refashioned the tale into a modern leaning feminist love story where the great man had a great woman behind him. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that since it gives us a tale where the characters grow and change over time. This isn't dry history, but a romance for today where the characters move us.

While this is a true BIG screen epic, you do want to see this projected, the story is always the human one. Much of the "action" of war and court intrigue is off screen because the focus is on the characters and not the battles. This doesn't mean that the film doesn't occasionally go big, it does, but always at the right time and always for proper effect. Indeed, a climatic battle sequence is one of the most amazing sequences I've ever seen, with it causing the hairs on my arms to stand up.  

Actually the sheer craft of this film, from top to bottom is among the best you'll see all year. This is filmmaking as a high art and the result is film that will move you both in your heard and in your heart. When the film ended I sat staring at the screen for several minutes after the end credits had rolled.

A must see, especially if you can see this on a big screen.

A must see at Japan Cuts on July 30.

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