Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d urge you to see Seven Samurai. Maybe you’ve never seen a Japanese film or have any idea who Kurosawa is, I’d tell you I was in your shoes too and regret not branching out to Japanese or other foreign films. This film blew me away in terms of fast pacing, action, a wide range of characters. Your library should have it. I advise getting the Criterion Collection DVD with commentary.

I’ve become so caught up in learning Illustrator to create computer graphics. It’s an amazing program,  but like any tool could take decades to master. I love developing a new creative outlet, but am mindful of not having as much time in day or life to develop all the talents and skills I’d like to.

I’d say my novel is chugging along. I’m taking a girls’ adventure film script I wrote and am adapting it into a novel. I try to write 5 pages a day, but usually get 3 done. I keep finding more to add and questioning what I’m doing. I sure wish I was making more progress.

I’ve got a second job interview on Tuesday. Fingers crossed that it’s a good match. I’ve got a lot of preparation as far as developing a model lesson and completing a proposal for a new class they should develop.

I’d urge you to read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, which I finished this week. It’s a great guide for modern Christians. One point that’s stayed with me is how Lewis points out that modern people — like me — tend to view time as theirs. So when something happens and their schedule changes they often get resentful and perturbed as if “their time” has been stolen. In fact, time doesn’t belong to them. It’s God’s and he’s given it to you. Click here to get the book. It’s one I’ll read again and again. Click to get it on Amazon: The Screwtape Letters Study Guide: A Bible Study on the C.S. Lewis Book The Screwtape Letters (CS Lewis Study Series)
I’d ask what’s new with you? How has your week gone? Join this challenge and link to me so I’m sure to read about your week.

 

 

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Seven Samurai

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Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is a film that left me stunned. So much action! Bam! What bold characters! Wow!

During a period of political instability in the 16th century, samurai were cut loose from their masters. Bandits roamed Japan pillaging and farmers lived in fear. In Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, a small, farming village is attacked by bandits. The bandits leave since the farmers don’t have much to steal. The bandits took most everything before. However, they do plan to return when the crops come in.

The elder of the village suggests the peasants hire some samurai to protect them. The peasants aren’t sure, but “Grandpa” is revered and no one has a better idea. So a few scouts go to town to recruit.

They luck out and find wise Kanbei, played by Kurosawa regular Takeshi Shimura, who leads the motley crew. Other samurai includes trained swordsmen, a master samurai who’s head and shoulders above the others, and the bull in a china shop, Kikuchiyo, played by another acting powerhouse Toshirô Mifune. Kikuchiyo is an outsider even in the midst of this motley crew. He’s crude and has a sense of humor that has no idea what’s appropriate when. Kikuchiyo is so fun to watch because he’s incredibly physical able to move and fight like no one I’ve seen on film.

The film is dramatic, but also funny. No character is put on a pedestal. Most defy the idealized social roles most stories confer upon them. One of the high points of the film is a speech Kikuchiyo gives deriding farmers. He tells the other samurai that they’re fools to think these people are simple and honest. He calls them out as greedy, timid and secretive. After his heated speech, Kanbei says, “So you’re from a farming family?” Yep. You called it.

By the end of the film we see that Kikuchiyo was exactly right. The farmers show their true natures. It takes nearly 3 and a half hours to see the team assembled, watch them prepare and then fight in a couple of the most compelling battles I’ve ever seen on film.

From David Ehrensteins’ essay on the film from Criterion.com:

“Japanese films all tend to be rather bland in flavor, like green tea over rice,” Kurosawa remarked in an interview, making a knowing dig at his staid rival, Yasujiro Ozu (one of whose films was actually called The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice). “I think we ought to have richer foods, and richer films. So I thought I would make this kind of film entertaining enough to eat.”

The dish Kurosawa set before audiences was certainly different from what they had tasted up until then—particularly as far as period filmmaking was concerned. Instead of the slow, ritualistic, and highly theatrical style of the typical sixteenth-century saga, Seven Samurai moved with the sure swiftness of a Hollywood action epic, like Gunga Din or Stagecoach. The characters may inhabit historical settings, but their manner and bearing were, often as not, strikingly contemporary—particularly in the case of the buffoonish Kikuchiyo, the high-spirited would-be samurai played with great gusto by Toshiro Mifune. Most important of all was the visual style of the film which, thanks to Kurosawa’s use of multiple cameras, lent itself to many unusual editing techniques.

Seven Samurai is a classic that all film lovers should see.