A meditation on the redemptive power of personal honor, Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha is the penultimate installment of the Webster Film Series' "Kurosawa at 100" program. A nameless thief (Tatsuya Nakadai) is spared from execution by Lord Shingen Takeda (Tatsuya Nakadai again) because of his uncanny physical resemblance to the warlord. Shingen is in the midst of a war for control of the country, and is killed by an enemy sniper; before he dies, he orders his men to keep his death secret for three years. Shingen's retainers use the thief as a body double, or kagemusha ("shadow warrior"), hoping to deceive their foes into believing Shingen still lives. But something strange happens; while playing the role of the noble warrior, the once untrustworthy thief begins to internalize the ideas of duty and responsibility to the clan. Kagemusha ends with one of Kurosawa's most memorable images, of warrior and flag being washed off the face of the earth in the aftermath of a terrible battle. Kagemusha screens at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $6.
Sun., Aug. 1, 2010