Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa – Hachi-gatsu no kyôshikyoku aka Rhapsody in August (1991)

Quote:
A beautiful and deeply moving work,it deals with a taboo subject which is rarely treated on the screen.The approach is much different from that of Alain Resnais in “Hiroshima mon amour”,and the main reason is that the director is Japanese.Far from Marguerite Duras’ verbal logorrhea,Kurosawa lets us in the tragedy through children’s eyes,and their simple and naive words.These children,who visit the memorial, only know what the history books tell:almost nothing. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Sugata Sanshirô AKA Judo Saga (1943)

Synopsis:
Sanshiro Sugata (Susumu Fujita) wants to learn jujitsu. But after he witnesses the power of judo firsthand, he abandons his jujitsu training to study with judo master Shogoro Yano (Denjirô Ôkôchi). Under Yano, Sanshiro learns the combative elements of the art, and he also masters satori — the quiet, meditative aspects of judo style. With both in hand, he fights for the respect of his former teacher and for the love of his teacher’s daughter, Sayo (Yukiko Todoriki). Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Ikiru (1952)

Synopsis:
Kanji Watanabe is a longtime bureaucrat in a city office who, along with the rest of the office, spends his entire working life doing nothing. He learns he is dying of cancer and wants to find some meaning in his life. He finds himself unable to talk with his family, and spends a night on the town with a novelist, but that leaves him unfulfilled. He next spends time with a young woman from his office, but finally decides he can make a difference through his job… After Watanabe’s death, co-workers at his funeral discuss his behavior over the last several months and debate why he suddenly became assertive in his job to promote a city park, and resolve to be more like Watanabe. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Nora inu AKA Stray Dog (1949)

Quote:
Stray Dog is an intense criminal story that examines the psychology of the characters as in compares the similarities between criminals and detectives. These similarities are balanced on a thin line based on choice, which Kurosawa dissects studiously through the camera lens. Kurosawa’s investigation of the character’s psychology creates a spiraling suspense that is enhanced through subtle surprises and brilliant cinematography. The camera use often displays shots through thin cloths, close ups, and new camera angles, which also makes the film aesthetically appealing. When Kurosawa brings together camera work and cast performance, among other cinematic aspects, he leaves the audience with a brilliantly suspenseful criminal drama, which leaves much room for introspection and retrospection. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Akahige AKA Red Beard [+commentary] (1965)

Synopsis:
In a charity hospital, a hard-bitten but honorable older doctor, Dr. Niide, takes a young intern under his guidance through the course of a number of difficult cases. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Donzoko AKA The Lower Depths (1957)

Synopsis:
Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa transferred the setting of Maxim Gorky’s play The Lower Depths from Imperial Russia to his own country’s Edo Period–which, like Gorky’s 19th-century setting, was an era of great cultural advances, offset by the miseries of those who weren’t in the aristocracy. Kurosawa’s film concentrates on Toshiro Mifune, playing a crooked gambler who falls in love with the sister (Kyoko Kagawa) of his cruel landlady (Isuzu Yamada). Herself carrying a torch for Mifune, the landlady exacts a roundabout revenge by killing her own husband and pinning the blame on the gambler. As the landlady descends into madness, those whom she has treated wretchedly laugh at her plight. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Kagemusha [+Extras] (1980)

Just as many American studio-era directors found acclaim abroad that was denied them in their home country, by 1980 Akira Kurosawa’s reputation outside Japan exceeded his esteem at home. As uncompromising as ever, he found considerable difficulty securing backing for his ambitious projects. Unsure he would be able to film it, the director, an aspiring artist before he entered filmmaking, converted Kagemusha into a series of paintings, and it was partly on the basis of these that he won the financial support of longtime admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Set in the 16th century, when powerful warlords competed for control of Japan, it offers an examination of the nature of political power and the slipperiness of identity. Read More »