The latest film by director Hiroshi Teshigahara of WOMAN IN THE DUNES fame, RIKYU provides a supremely beautiful, stately biography of the 16th-century artist who, it is claimed, perfected the classic tea ceremony, one of the most revered traditions in Japan.
Sen no Rikyu (Rentaro Mikuni), was the tea master for the man who became Japan's most powerful warlord of that time, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Tsutomu Yamazaki). Rikyu was much revered by the royal court and in particular by Toyotomi, his lord and master. As a royal adviser, he became the one the lord
turned to for advice and counsel. Their relationship continued to flower until Rikyu advised his master against a proposed invasion of China. Toyotomi decided that Rikyu was insolent in disagreeing with him about the invasion and took imperial measures to get rid of his opposition by forcing the
liquidation of his former friend and counselor. Rikyu was sacrificed, then the warlord proceeded with his plans for war against China, a historical and momentous decision.
This story of imperial court intrigue is done in the best tradition of Japanese film. As performed by Rentaro Mikuni, Rikyu has a stately presence, an inner calm that reflects his strong character. Never deviating from what he believes is the right course, he goes to his tragic end with dignity.
The supporting players add their effective presence, while Toru Takemitsu's haunting melodies add to the sober tale. Everything--the dark landscapes, the pavilions where the tea ceremony is performed, the ceremony itself--is caught in all its beauty by Fujio Morita's reverential photography.
Hiroshi Teshigahara was born in Tokyo in 1927. His early filmmaking experience came as a director of documentary shorts. He first received international attention for his film WOMAN IN THE DUNES, which won the special jury prize in Cannes in 1964. Now, with RIKYU, he continues to express the
Japanese spirit in his unique style. Teshigahara attempts to define in his films the traditional Japanese thought patterns, despite the overwhelming influence of Western culture. He also takes a special interest in exploring social and political purpose in his films, without resorting to agitprop.
Teshigahara's particular moral sensibility is very clearly stated in his work. His is a truly cinematic voice from Japan--working in the present, with an eye on the past, focusing on the conflicts and dilemmas that have baffled his society. (Violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1989
- Rating: NR
- Review: The latest film by director Hiroshi Teshigahara of WOMAN IN THE DUNES fame, RIKYU provides a supremely beautiful, stately biography of the 16th-century artist who, it is claimed, perfected the classic tea ceremony, one of the most revered traditions in Jap… (more)