Analysis of “the Last Samurai” Film Based on Postmodern Theory

Topics: Samurai, Boshin War, Japan Pages: 9 (2638 words) Published: September 3, 2013

Analysis of “The Last Samurai” Film Based On Postmodern Theory

Mauliana Dewi (090511100001)

English Department
Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences
Trunojoyo University of Madura


Films are made to be seen and heard, to appeal to our visual and aural senses. Like any art form, however, films are also meant to be felt and understood, to appeal to our emotions and minds. One of the best ways to determine whether a film has succeeded in any or all of these goals is to analyze the elements that make up the whole work.

Film is a medium of a “broader global patterns and frameworks, especially the communication industry as an integrated interacting whole” (Mowlana 1997, 97). It provides a giant mirror that serves as a reflection f the values, the half-truths, and he ideals of the society and its people (Whetmore 1997, 201).

Film can be devided into some genres. Therefore, we can know previously what kind of film that we will analyze and it will make easier to understand. The following are film genres according to the specific category they belong (Neal 2000; Staiger 1992; Walker 1992; Gehring 1988): * Setting :Crime, Film noir, Historical, Science fiction, Sports, War, Western. * Mood :Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Thriller. * Format:Animation, Biographical, Documentary, Experimental, Musical, Narrative, Short.

This paper aims to analyze a box office film which has gotten a prestigious appreciation. It is kind of a war film, entitled The Last Samurai which is directed by Edward Zwick. This good film is a fiction film which presents a historical sense about Samurai. The Last Samurai means the last group of warrior in Japan. Based on the history, during 1872 was a period of reform in Japan that was mentioned as Restoration of the Meiji Emperor. And the reforms were included into:

1)      feudalism was abolished.
2)      political power was centralized.
3)      the samurai were sent abroad to learn about western science and technology.
4)      the samurai were then abolished as a class.
The director presents this film by combining history and fiction with an interesting way through some charaters Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) as main characters, Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe) as Samurai and other supporting characters.

The analyst will analyze this film using one of appropriate theory of literature. The theory that will be used is Postmodernism and it will be explained in the next chapter. Therefore, there must be some questions or problems that the analyst finds to be able in analyzing the film such in a good way to get a good result, such as: (1) What are the aspects of life in this film relate to the theory? (2) Which parts of this film that suitable with some characteristics from 13 characteristics of postmodernism?

The questions above will be answered all at once with the explaination or discussion in Chapter III.


Postmodernism focuses on three aspects of life, economic, culture and social.

Postmodernism: often challenges modern ways of organizing thought, knowledge, and society. In art, postmodernism is artistic movements, primarily arising post World War II, that outdo the experimentation of modern art and are playfully subversive of modernism’s relative seriousness. Postmodernist art tends to be anti-elitist and to make use of an even wider/eclectic/ironic range of materials and styles than modernism. A reaction against Enlightenment ideas implicit in Modernist literature. (Jean Baudrillard).

Postmodernism: by Ihab Hassan
Absence: kekurangan|
Anarchy and fragmentation:pemecahan menjadi kepingan|
Anti-authoritarianism:anti otoriter|

There are 13 characteristics of postmodernism according to some expert such as Jean Baudrillard and Linda Hutcheon : 1. Irony,...
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