Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa – Rashomon (1950)



As the film opens, three characters seek shelter from a driving rainstorm (it never sprinkles in a Kurosawa film!) beneath the ruined Rashomon gate that guards the southern entrance to the court capital. As they wait for the storm to pass, the priest (Minoru Chiaki), the woodcutter (Takashi Shimura), and the commoner (Kichijiro Ueda) discuss a recent and scandalous crime––a noblewoman (Machiko Kyo) was raped in the forest, her samurai husband (Masayuki Mori) killed as a result of either murder or suicide, and a thief named Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune) was arrested for the crime. Read More »

    Akira Kurosawa – Shizukanaru ketto AKA A Silent Duel (1949)


    Toshirō Mifune (in the second of many films with Kurosawa), plays a young idealistic doctor, still a virgin, who works at his father’s (Takashi Shimura) clinic in a small and seedy district. However, during the war, he contracts syphilis from the blood of a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. Treating himself in secret and tormented by his conscience and celibacy, he rejects his heartbroken fiancée without explanation. Read More »

      Akira Kurosawa – Tengoku to jigoku AKA High and Low (1963)

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      “Criterion” wrote:
      Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s highly influential High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku). Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a penetrating portrait of contemporary Japanese society. Read More »

        Akira Kurosawa – Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi AKA They Who Step on the Tiger’s Tail (1945)



        The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, the fourth film from Akira Kurosawa, is based on
        a legendary twelfth-century incident in which the lord Yoshitsune, with the help of a group of samurai, crosses enemy territory disguised as a monk. The story was dramatized for centuries in Noh and Kabuki theater, and here it becomes one of the director’s lightest, most farcical films.

        Boris [email protected] of Cinema wrote:

        Akira Kurosawa’s They Who Step on the Tiger’s Tail is a film version of a twelfth century Japanese tale which forms the central narrative of the Noh drama Ataka and the popular Kabuki play, Kanjincho. Along with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), The Most Beautiful (1944) and Sanshiro Sugata-Part Two (1945), this is the fourth film Kurosawa shot during World War Two. He completed the script in only a few days, and, adhering to the strict regulations of the Japanese military authorities, convinced the producer that he would shoot the entire footage in one location. However, the filming coincided with the end of the war and Kurosawa completed the shoot during the early days of the American occupation. Read More »

          Akira Kurosawa – Akahige (1965)


          In the Nineteenth Century, in Japan, the arrogant and proud just-graduated Dr. Noboru Yasumoto (Yuzo Kayama) is forced to work in the Koshikawa Clinic, a non-profit health facility ruled by Dr. Kyojio Niide (Toshir Mifune), a.k.a. “Red Beard”. “Red Beard” is a good, sentimental, but also very firm, strong and fair man. While in the clinic, Dr. Yasumoto becomes responsible for healing the hurt teenager Otoyo (Terumi Niki), and he learns a lesson of humanity, becoming a better man. Read More »

            Hisao Kurosawa – A Message from Akira Kurosawa: For Beautiful Movies (2000)


            A Documentary in 10 parts covering the filmmaking of Kurosawa around the theme of making the perfect movie or as he says: A Beautyful Movie.

            Kurosawa on filmmaking.

            Chapter 1 – The seed of a film
            Chapter 2 – Screenplays
            Chapter 3 – Storyboards
            Chapter 4 – Filming
            Chapter 5 – Lighting
            Chapter 6 – Production design
            Chapter 7 – Costumes
            Chapter 8 – Editing
            Chapter 9 – Music
            Chapter 10 – Directing
            Read More »

              Akira Kurosawa – Ikiru [+Extras] (1952)


              REVIEW:Shan Jayaweera, Senses of Cinema

              Along with the various uses of time and perspective in the narrative, Ikiru displays all the other hallmarks that make Kurosawa such an important and influential filmmaker. The framing, shot composition and editing techniques all beautifully work together to bring out the story the most dazzling of these being the sequence reminiscing about his son. The dissolves and the matching of shots past to present are used to such effect that the audience is left feeling his pain not of imminent death but wasted life. Special mention must also go to Takashi Shimura’s beautiful performance as Mr Watanabe. Shimura and Kurosawa worked many times together, most famously in Seven Samurai where Shimura played the head samurai. As Mr Watanabe, Shimura’s mannerisms and reactions take the audience into the inner most depths and thoughts of the character. His performance lingers through the second half even though we barely see him. Read More »