Comicon celebrates 20 years of Kill Bill: Vol.1 with samurai artist Tetsuro Shimaguchi

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As part of a program in which there is room for various martial arts events (including a special screening of The 3 of Operation Dragon with Bruce Lee), the Comicon of Naples makes tribute to Kill Bill: Vol. 1first part of the masterpiece written and directed by Quentin Tarantino in the season in which they celebrate twenty years after its release in theaters around the world. The tribute to the genius of Tarantino belongs to Tetsuro Shimaguchi, samurai artist who collaborated in the making of the film by designing the choreography of cult sequencessuch as that of the clash between the 88 fools and the bride/Uma Thurman and the final duel between the latter and O-Ren Ishii played by Lucy Liu.

The meeting between Shimaguchi and Tarantino

The Comicon audience who witnessed the performance of Shimaguchi and his samurai sword show group, Kengishu KAMUI, must have experienced the same feeling, a mix of amazement and admiration, experienced by Quentin Tarantino when in the late nineties it happened by chance at a show by the Japanese artist.

The master of sword and martial artswho is also an actor with vast experience in Kabuki theatre-dance, is happy to retrace the meeting with the director of pulp Fiction with whom he worked side by side in making the fight scenes of Kill Bill, considered a masterpiece of action cinema and martial arts. Shimaguchi says he worked, in many cases, without having a script specific but, the climate of collaboration and trust that existed on the set, allowed him to go beyond the teaching of the technique and the ideation of the choreographies, thinking with Tarantino some details of the scenes, even the bloodiest ones, such as the way in which Uma Thurman’s opponents had to die.

Uma Thurman and the duel in the snow with Lucy Liu

Shimaguchi also remembers the approach of Uma Thurman on the set. The actress, who had never done action films and was not in her best physical shape having recently given birth, donated elegance and intelligence to the character. Very focused too Lucy Liu who fights with the bride in a celebrity night fight in the snow. In that scene, very different from the others, faster and more chaotic, the director and the choreographer focused on slownessThe silence and on the details borrowed from the geisha imagery. It was Shimaguchi who suggested, for example, framing the rotational movements of the hands and swords as well as highlighting the moment when O-Ren Ishii/Lucy Liu he takes off his sandals to start the duel.

The samurai today

Also in the duel between Uma Thurman and the mad 88 gang, says Tetsuro Shimaguchi, there was a good deal of improvisation. This, like other iconic and suspenseful scenes, was unscripted. The contribution of the samurai artist is therefore expressed in the ability to convey emotionsinvisible, through the sword which is a real and concrete object. Shimaguchi also focused on the samurai figure that although today he is no longer a warrior capable of protecting his family and loved ones with his skills, he is nevertheless not without responsibility to the country and nation.

Kill Bill: Vol.1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol.2 (2004)

The never ending debate about the sequences of Kill Billmany of which are considered among the most iconic of 21st century cinema, try the centrality of the fourth title signed by Quentin Tarantino in the history of the seventh art. Conceived by Uma Thurman and Tarantino and written and directed by the latter, it was thought by its author to be released in a single version; were the production house and distributors to decide the division into two volumes, with Kill Bill: Vol.2 released in theaters six months later, in 2004. Both sides, candidates in many categories in all the most important competitions in the sector, testify to the quotationist taste of Tarantino, an author known for his refined and encyclopedic knowledge of the history of cinema, never an end in itself but at the service of the creation of a product pop progenitor of a very different line of titles intended for both the big and small screens.