Movie three in the Rebel Samurai boxset is Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy, the 1965 Le Carre-ian Cold War espionage film that happens to take place in the political turmoil of the early part of the 17th century in Japan. Also the main character is a traditional Japanese folk hero who the audience should know about but that’s not at all important until it is very, very, incredibly very important to understand the plot in the last ten minutes of the movie. We talk cold war politics, historical analogues, and secret knowledge on this week’s Lost in Criterion.
In 1969 Masahiro Shinoda adapted a 1721 bunraku puppetry play into Double Suicide, a highly stylistic interpretation that, while live action, holds firmly to many of the theatrical elements of the style, and perhaps other styles of Japanese theatre as well. It's hard to describe a story of a murder suicide pact between a man and his mistress as fun, but Shinoda clearly took a playful attitude toward his interpretation.