Last night I watched Twilight Samurai (たそがれ清兵衛), a Yoji Yamada film from 2002 featuring Hiroyuki Sanada and Rie Miyazawa. I tend to fall asleep during samurai movies, but this one was really emotionally entertaining. Sanada plays the role of a low-class widower samurai named Iguchi Seibei who takes care of his senile mother and two young daughters all by himself. His peers mock him and take pity on him, but he is in fact perfectly content. He loves watching his daughters grow up and appreciates the little things in life. He doesn’t want to fight anymore. But when his childhood friend Tomoe — played by Miyazawa — comes back into his life, he is unexpectedly thrown back into battle. I won’t spoil the plot here, but Sanada does an amazing job of portraying a man of such great honor, self-understanding, and compassion. It’s really nice.
Sanada, by the way, currently stars in the last season of Lost.