Swords fly in a Midnight Screening of Mugen no Jūnin (Blade of the Immortal) by Takashi Miike

Film still of Mugen no Jūnin (Blade of the Immortal) © RR

As Cannes celebrates its 70th anniversary, we also celebrate the 100th film by a master of Japanese film: Takashi Miike. Aged 57, he revisits the manga series Mugen no Jūnin (Blade of The Immortal) in an eponymous feature film that sees the director revel once again in the world of the samurai, shown as a Midnight Screening.

Legend has it that Manji is immortal. Aware of this, the young and fragile Rin, determined to avenge the death of her parents, begs for the legendary warrior’s help. Faced with hundreds of enemies, Manji will not escape this epic clash unscathed.

Prior to being adapted by Takashi Miike, Manji’s tale was recounted by Hiroaki Samura in speech bubbles and Indian ink. A total of 30 volumes were published between 1993 and 2013. Aside from the surgical precision of the drawing, the key to this manga, which has won over an international audience, lies in its highly contemporary style and complex, elaborate world.

Having Takashi Miike bring his work to the big screen was a dream come true for the author. An experienced director of sword fighting films, Miike has no qualms about revolutionizing the genre, as witnessed in 2011 with Ichimei (Hara Kiri: Death of a samurai), in Competition. No 3D this time, but Blade of The Immortal promises high-wire fight scenes, from duels to 300 to one combat.

From manga, Takashi Miike has retained the aesthetics of the characters, some with unusual scars, others with vivid costumes, and provided them with a series of outlandish weapons. Each a trophy for Manji to collect after defeating his opponents.