Review of Daibosatsu Pass (1966)
The last decade of the Tokugawa Shōgunate. In a very early scene, the swordsman Ryunosuke overhears an old man praying for his own death, wishing not to burden his granddaughter any more. Ryunosuke impulsively grants the old man’s wish right there. Only the statue in the local shrine watches. Over the years, Ryunosuke’s enemies accumulate, and he passes over one chance of happiness after another.
Dark chanbara featuring the spectacular self-destruction of a nihilist anti-hero. It improves with repetition. Beautifully exaggerated action, but the pacing isn’t so good. More psychological background would have helped. Original title: Daibosatsu Touge, literally the mountain pass or ridge of the Great Bodhisattva. This detail shows it to be the masculine equivalent of The Life of Oharu (1952).