A solitary samurai contemplates renouncing his pacifist ways amidst a brewing civil war in mid-19th century Japan.
Swordsman Mokunoshin Tsuzuki earns a peaceful living as a labourer on a rice paddy in the outskirts of Edo, the former capital of pre-modern Japan. Maintaining his sword skills through daily sparring with farmer’s son Ichisuke, who himself harbours dreams to serve the shogun as a samurai, Mokunoshin’s idyllic life is threatened when talk of an impending civil war reaches his remote village. When a stoic older samurai recruits him for a capital-bound task force bent on easing the civil unrest, Mokunoshin’s reluctance to kill is challenged as the surrounding violence escalates.
A trim, compact study of human nature and its complex relationship with violence, Killing is the latest film to feature director Tsukamoto’s anti-war stance.
Cast & Credits
Known mainly for his 1989 cyberpunk cult hit Tetsuo: The Iron Man, director Shinya Tsukamoto has been making films since he was gifted a Super 8 camera at age 14. In 2011, Tsukamoto became the first Japanese filmmaker to win Best Film at Venice Film Festival’s Horizons section, with his feature Kotoko.
Sousuke Ikematsu, Yu Aoi, Tatsuya Nakamura
*In Competition, Venice Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, Toronto Film Festival 2018