Kihachi Okamoto’s rarely screened samurai masterpiece “Sword of Doom” is dark, unremittingly violent, complex, absolutely brilliant, and we are screening it this Friday at 7:30. The film, starring Tatsuya Nakadai, has all of the hallmarks of a great samurai film: maniacal killers, expert swordplay, Toshiro Mifune, and a snow-kissed climax.
The film opens with Nakadai running his sword through an old man who was actually praying for death but probably not expecting so prompt an answer. It is the first step on a long, twisted path of flagrant violations of all codes of honor. Naturally, more senseless slayings ensue until the much famed apocalyptic finale.
Check out this New York Times article on our screening.
Also take a look at this essay on the film via Criterion.