If you’re a bushido junkie, there’s probably no better film for you than Sword of Desperation, a Japanese period piece with a screenplay that feels lifted from a rice paper scroll. It has all the elements of a way-of-the-warrior tale of heroism: honorable protagonist, conniving woman, tyrannical ruler, peasant unrest, seppuku galore. There’s some good swordplay and sweeping shots of serene countryside, plus kimonos to die for. But if that’s not your bag, there are probably better ways to spend 114 minutes of your life than watching men with their faces fixed in intense masks talk to each other on tatami mats, occasionally interrupted by acts of bloodshed. The in-between scenes all seem five seconds too long, as if elegant Japanese aesthetics were enough in itself to sustain the viewer’s interest. Unless you’re meditating in search of Nirvana, they’re probably not.
At 8:45 p.m.; also on Wednesday, April 13 at 8:45 p.m. Both showings at E Street Cinema.