Sansho the Bailiff

"Without mercy, man is like a beast. Even if you are hard on yourself, be merciful to others."*


Zushio’s father was a man of quiet honor. *When he was told to tax the peasants, he refused. His stubbornness leads to his exile, but before he leaves, he tells his son the above quote as a reminder to be kind to those less fortunate. *

Some time later, Zushio, his sister Anju, and his mother and kidnapped. Tricked by supposed priestess, they are separated and sold into slavery. *His mother is forced to become a courtesan. *Zushio and Anju become slaves to the eponymous Sansho. *

His cruelty knows no bounds. Escaped slaves are always captured and, upon return, are scarred and mutilated. *After 10 years, Zushio has become subservient to Sansho and Carrie’s out these mutilations. *He has forgotten his fathers teachings. *

The films sprinkles the acts of barbarism with random acts of kindness from others. *Anju never gives up hope, and helps others when she can. Zushio, on the other hand, doesn’t have any use for kindness. *He believes it to useless in this world. *His journey from slavery to realizing his fathers teachings makes for a impactful journey of self discovery. *

The film is one of the human condition, as we see the motivations of some (greed) and others who try to help (sympathy). *There is a stark contrast between Sansho and his own son, Taro (?) who refuses his fathers barbaric ways. *

In between The films is also one of some great cinematography, which was typical of the times. *

Great pick here, again.*