not sure why i have never seen this movie, but for whatever reason i haven’t. as soon as it ended, i wanted to start it again…except that i had just cried the last 45 minutes and i just didn’t think i had it in me to cry again after the movie was over for a second time. so, instead, i sat with the credits rolling until it stayed on the “play movie” screen for a good 20 minutes…while i tried to decide if i was going to change my mind and watch it again. but i didn’t. i couldn’t.
i couldn’t get it out of my mind.
the reference to the samurai as savages, by the american officer (no shock there).
and as i watched the closing scenes, i couldn’t help but ask myself,
just who are the savages?
the savages…the word we use to describe people who aren’t just like us?
the savages who aren’t as civilized as we are…as we think we are?
the savages who aren’t as technological advanced as we are…as we think we are?
the savages who aren’t as industrialized as we are…as we think we are?
and does this civilized, technological, industrialized culture make us better than other cultures who don’t possess or implement this knowledge the way we do?
does that make their lives any less sacred than our own?
does that make their customs, their ways, their culture their way of life, their people any less valuable than our own?
does it mean we have to replace one with the other, exterminating the other?
as i watched the japanese army bring out the gun (the new technologically advanced weapon) in the last battle scene with which to exterminate the samurai (which only brought back scores of previous flashbacks from the american soldiers fighting the native americans, taking what was not theirs to take), i couldn’t help but think…which were the savages?
those who go into battle to defend themselves, their honor, their ways, their people…or those who go into battle to take what they think is rightfully theirs, exterminating all that stand in their way?