Samurai Fiction

Director: Hiroyuki Nakano
Screenwriters: Hiroshi Saito

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


The classic samurai film has been strikingly updated in this feature debut by Hiroyuki Nakano, who has taken the genre and respectfully added a dynamic new flare. Skillfully blending traditional Japanese filmmaking techniques and advanced digital technology, as well as a masterful sense of humor and some rock ‘n’ roll, Samurai Fiction is a magnificent and mesmerizing bash that will joyously knock your socks off.
Set in an undetermined place and time, the story follows short-tempered Heishiro Inukai and his two closest friends, Kurosawa and Suzuki, who are attempting to reclaim their clan’s most precious object: a sword entrusted to them by the shogun himself. Kazamatsuri, the very man hired to protect the sword, is the one who has made off with it. When the trio catches up to him, he easily handles the would-be heroes, which sends Heishiro to get aid from a pacifist samurai, who not only holds the key to defeating Kazamatsuri but also has a daughter whom Heishiro falls in love with.
Boiling over with style, Samurai Fiction is dazzlingly photographed in exquisite black and white with perfectly placed bursts of vivid color. The battle scenes are masterfully choreographed and filmed in a way never imagined before. Nakano has created a modern masterpiece which honors the originals but boldly enhances them with cutting-edge humor and shape. This is a film sure to carve its way into the forefront of Japanese cinema.

Hiroyuki Nakano, Director
Born in 1958 at Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan, director Hiroyuki Nakano makes his feature film debut with Samurai Fiction. Nakano is well known as the “Kurosawa of MTV” because of his cutting-edge “motion graphics” visual style. His previous works include Groves in the Heart: Deee-Lite, nominated in six categories at the 1990 MTV Music Awards, and music clips for Paul AWeller, Les Negresses Vertes, Saint Entienne, and PHOTEK, among others.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

  • Section: Park City at Midnight
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese
  • Run Time: 111 min.
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