Movies vist the Family Entertainment Center for more entertainment resources
Browse by Title
Browse by Release Date

Dora-Heita

Rating:No Rating
Genre:Drama
Release Date:January 1, 2001
Running time:111 minutes
Cast:Koji Yakusho, Bunta Sugawara, Y√Ľko Asano
Director:Kon Ichikawa
Producer:Yoshinobu Nishioka
Writer:Kon Ichikawa, Keisuke Kinoshita
Distributor:Toho Company Ltd.

Description: As the Japanese studios were declining in 1969, four legendary directors from that country's golden age of cinema -- Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi, Keisuke Kinoshita, and of course Akira Kurosawa -- banded together to start their own production company. The financial and critical failure of the studio's first feature, Kurosawa's Dodes'ka-Den (1970), scrubbed all subsequent projects. One of the shelved works was this film, which was adapted by the quartet from Shugoro Yamamoto's Diary of Town Magistrate and was originally going to be directed by all four masters. With the passing of Kurosawa and Kinoshita in 1998, directing duties of this almost forgotten script fell to the group's sole survivor: 85-year-old Ichikawa. The film centers on Koheita Mochizuki (played by charismatic leading man Koji Yakusho), a samurai selected by the regional lord to be the magistrate of the particularly lawless district of Horisoto, a place where three such officers disappeared. This appointment arouses more than a little curiosity from the locals; Mochizuki's reputation for liquor and general licentiousness has earned him the nickname Dora-Heita, or alley cat (meaning playboy). In fact, Mochizuki has carefully cultivated his debauched persona, as he quietly tells his friend Senba (Ryudo Uzaki), who works as district administrator. He exhorts his pal to keep the rumors circulating. When the venerable district council -- who is aghast at Mochizuki's slatternly appearance -- almost votes to remove him, Dora-Heita reveals the lord's signed letter of endorsement giving him absolute authority. His first task is to clean out three powerful gangs who control Horisoto, keeping it awash in prostitution, extortion, gambling, and murder. Though samurais are forbidden to sullen themselves with such riff-raff, he boldly ventures into the prohibited brothel quarters and plays up his libertine persona in order to suss out the real criminals. In the process, he profoundly offends a band of right-thinking young samurais who soon plot to assassinate the heretical Dora-Heita. With almost everyone in the area out to get him, Mochizuki's life is further complicated by the appearance of geisha and former mistress Kosei (Yuko Asano), who demands that he take her back. Told with a sly sense of humor that was common to all four directors, this film is directed with a muscular dynamism that recalls the best of the samurai movies of old, such as Yojimbo (1961) and Harakiri (1963). Dora-Heita was screened at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Movie summaries and listings powered by Cinema-Source

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.