Edith Wharton & Old Samurai Movies by James Gilmore

While reading the Age of Innocence
I stumble upon a curious
Japanese doppelganger

Kurasawa and his man
Toshiro Mifune in
an old samurai movie
a classic
like Edith’s novel
but the two might as well
be Martians to each other

in both
characters captured in cultures
defined by precise restraint
suppressed hearts like
sparse rooms
in an old house
unlived in

yet
the Japanese Archer finds love
happiness
fulfillment even
in spite of society which
defines their every action
splitting lovers now forced
to marry their foes for money
for power
for comfort and convention
like the king so confined
by his own etiquette
he becomes
a prisoner less free
than his peasant people
while the spurned spirits who
strive to beat their own drums
against the gales of their fathers
families
peers and lords
die in solitude
promontories left alone
and crumbling
against the irreversible tide
but having lived and died for
the life they chose
not the life
chosen for them
(the repeating plot
of Edith’s and Akira’s other works
as well)

so
in theory
like Kurasawa did with
MacBeth
King Lear
and other great stories
the Age of Innocence has
been a samurai film all along
helmed by brave warriors of
independence and human spirit
who are chained as servants
to an unyielding master
suffering
for king and country
wills resigned to a machine
a soul-murderer
simple and safe
where their peers
with time
stamp their persons
into indistinguishable oblivion


James Gilmore is a poet, writer, filmmaker and proud father currently residing in Los Angeles, California.  A proud father and husband, James spends his free time traveling and enjoying fine Bavarian beers.