this might be my favorite kurosawa film to watch…yojimbo would be high in the running as well. kurosawa tells a story so so well. but the story isn’t all this film is about…the characters (especially sanjuro himself) are great. he’s such a wiley, thoughtful, and badass hero. there are echoes of westerns throughout, but as usual, it’s not too derivative. themes of masculinity/feminity, what makes a true samurai/hero, good/bad, and loyalty are all addressed at interesting angles. sanjuro acknowledges his weaknesses, unlike many western heroes, and takes advice from the two main women characters in the film. he also doesn’t care about keeping up proper appearances – he sleeps often, asks for money and doesn’t fall into the generally accepted view of a proper samurai. as is true with any kurosawa film, the story has a lot to do with the psychology of humans and the story is very chesslike. the story never feels contrived and characters, though exagerated, are not fake. there’s a lot of detail and richness to this film that i’d like to understand, but that’ll come later. wipes, squares and doors are all used interestingly, but i don’t know to what effect…yet.