About half-way through, K said "This reminds me of The Draughtsman's Contract."
Fortunately, it was in a good way.
The Draughtsman's Contract was an execrable film with occasional flashes of brilliance and a beautiful and absurd sensibility. Almost half the film ended up on the cutting-room floor in the final edit, but I'm not certain whether the missing 2 hours would have made for a better movie or if they would have just been 2 hours more of crap. I'm guessing the latter.
Zatoichi is a strangely fun film with flashes of brilliance and a beautifully absurd sensibility. For those of you not in the know, it's Takeshi Kitano's (aka Beat Takeshi) reinvisioning of a classic series of Japanese movies. The plot is delivered in a delightfully nonlinear manner, interspersed with flashbacks to events sometimes signficant, sometimes just sublime. The dub is pretty silly, featuring "Japanese" accents that wouldn't have been out of place in dubs of the original Zatoichi franchise from the 60s.
Okinu and Osei, the strange and murderous geisha pair really make the movie, though. It's the story of Okinu and Osei that really drives both the plot and the insanity. Watching the two is an experience.
The other thing is to watch the farmers. Watch the farmers and the carpenters in the village.