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The Last Samurai

September 8, 2015

TLSAncient meets modern, East meets West in an intimate drama with an epic backdrop.

The place of tradition – In a world that is changing at a phenomenal rate it is easy to neglect the wisdom of those who have gone before us.

Courage and honour – There comes a time for all of us to stand for what we believe is right and good if we are to live with integrity, even though it might involve great personal cost.

Redeeming the past – Though it is impossible to turn back the clock on the things that we regret in life, those things can become a catalyst to live differently.

Algren, though held captive, comes to appreciate something of the Samurai traditions, and he begins to see them not as barbarians but as people of honour and integrity.

Algren is drawn to something in a culture very different to his own.

The film portrays the clash between the traditional values of Samurai and those of a nation seeking to pull itself into the modern world

Algren has helped the betrayed Samurai escape from Tokyo. They are returning to their village in the knowledge that the Japanese army will soon arrive with overwhelming force. As the Samurai prepare to face their last battle, Algren is accepted as one of them.

Commitment to a just cause often results in great acts of courage and sacrifice. For Algren, it was the traditions of the Samurai.

As Katsumoto shares his philosophy, it seems to give Algren a way to leave behind the regrets of his past. When Algren meets the Emperor for the last time, the impression is that he is a man very much more at peace with himself than when they first met.

The Last Samurai conveys something of the importance of traditions. They are things that people will fight and die for. Of course, not every tradition and value that is held by a culture is an absolute good. Our 21st century western minds no doubt find much of the honour code of the Samurai difficult to understand. But traditions in their best sense are vital to any culture, providing both stability and a framework by which values are measured. Sometimes, if we are open enough to learn from them, the traditions of people from different cultures can enable us to glimpse life from a fresh perspective. For Algren, it was through the way of the Samurai that he found a way of moving beyond the regrets of his past.

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