Seven Samurai - Criterion #2

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Seven Samurai (1954) dir. Akira Kurosawa | DP. Asakazu Nakai

They weren't getting paid. They were barely getting a meal a day. And there's a good chance they wouldn't survive the battle. What motivation would propel these samurai to stand up and fight for these farmers? 

Whether or not intended, one motivation started becoming clear as Kambei (Takashi Shimura) lifts his eyes to the iconic banner Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) plants on the roof of a house. They had found a botherhood. They had formed a team.

I think that's why I love this shot so much. It's not just the composition or the depth or the action. Kikuchiyo is a walking exclamation point. And how emphatic a gesture to claim this village for the samurai, even if for a few days. We are brothers fighting for a greater cause than we came here for. Each other.  —ML