|Saturday morning. Sign of coming autumn: the poison ivy is turning red.|
|Still lots of beautiful wild flowers.|
|We saw mostly pretty common birds.|
"The film ... is simple, bold, and colorful on the surface, but very thoughtful. Kurosawa seems to be saying that great human endeavors (in this case, samurai wars) depend entirely on large numbers of men sharing the same fantasies or beliefs. It is entirely unimportant, he seems to be suggesting, whether or not the beliefs are based on reality -- all that matters is that men accept them. But when a belief is shattered, the result is confusion, destruction, and death. At the end of Kagemusha, for example, the son of the real Lord Shingen orders his troops into a suicidal charge, and their deaths are not only unnecessary but meaningless, because they are not on behalf of the sacred person of the warlord.
"There are great images in this film: Of a breathless courier clattering down countless steps, of men passing in front of a blood-red sunset, of a dying horse on a battlefield. But Kurosawa's last image -- of the dying kagemusha floating in the sea, swept by tidal currents past the fallen standard of the Takeda clan -- summarizes everything: ideas and men are carried along heedlessly by the currents of time, and historical meaning seems to emerge when both happen to be swept in the same way at the same time." (See review of Jan 1, 1980)