“The Hidden Blade” (2004, 132 minutes), directed by Yoji Yamada, will be screened on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at West Los Angeles United Methodist Church, 1913 Purdue Ave. in Los Angeles.

Known in Japan as “Kakushi Ken: Oni no Tsume,” this is the second award-winning film in a samurai trilogy by Yamada and renowned author Shuhei Fujisawa. As in the first film, “Twilight Samurai” (Tasogare Seibei, 2002), and the third film, “Love and Honor” (Bushi no Ichibun, 2006), “The Hidden Blade” is an insightful study into samurai customs and tradition during the feudal era of Japan’s history.

“Twilight Samurai” was a breath of fresh air, not only because it was the first attempt at a period piece by a highly experienced director, but also because the film focused more on the characters and personalities rather than the sword fights. Yamada’s follow-up is even more thought-provoking and stimulating.

“The Hidden Blade” follows a lower-class samurai named Katagiri, who secretly loves Kie, a servant in his family’s household. Eventually their perception of honor forces them to part, and he must turn his focus toward a disheartening task. In addition to 16 nominations, the movie won awards for best art direction, best actress and best supporting actress. The cast includes Masatoshi Nagase, Takako Matsu, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Min Tanaka, Tomoko Tabata, Ken Ogata and Chieko Baisho.

A 10-minute interview with Yamada will be shown at 7:15 p.m.

Japanese Film Night, which is free and open to he public, is held on the last Friday of the month. For more information, call (310) 479-1379, email westlaumc@gmail.com or visit http://wlaumc.com.

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