Snow on the Blades, originally titled Zakurozaka no adauchi, is a Japanese film directed by Setsurô Wakamatsu and is based off of a short story by Jirô Asada. The movie stars Kiichi Nakai, Hiroshi Abe, Ryôko Hirosue, and Masahiro Takashima.
In the mid 1800's and during a time when social and cultural change is sweeping Japan, Shimura Kingo (Nakai) is a Samurai warrior tasked with protecting the Shogun's chief minister from opposing forces. After he is defeated during an ambush, he is tasked with hunting down the remaining assassins and avenging his master even while modernization turns traditions and rituals into relics from a bygone era.
Director, Setsuro Wakamatsu has crafted an intimate drama that really does a good job at showing how culture can be abandoned by progress leaving people behind and forced to adapt to new ideals and ways of seeing the world. The movie itself can be slow at times although the deliberate pacing is necessary to the type of story being told. It's more about the human drama and interaction between characters so, if you are looking for a ton of sward fights and big action, you will be very disappointed. The acting across the board is pretty phenomenal and is carried by the three lead actors, Kiichi Nakai, Hiroshi Abe, and Ryoko Hirosue.
This is the first film I have watched from the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival lineup and it was definitely a good way to get things started. Snow on the Blades is a beautifully filmed Japanese period piece featuring a dramatic story filled with great performances and is definitely worth checking out.
CLICK HERE to see when you can watch Snow on the Blades.
CLICK HERE to see my picks from the 2015 SIFF lineup.