Akira Kurosawa (Critical Lives) by Peter Wild

By Peter Wild

“Most administrators have one movie for which they're identified or very likely two,” stated Francis Ford Coppola. “Akira Kurosawa has 8 or nine.” via masterpieces resembling Kagemusha, Seven Samurai, and High and Low, Akira Kurosawa (1910–98) prompted administrators from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to Martin Scorsese, and his groundbreaking strategies in cinematography and enhancing, mixed along with his storytelling, made him a cinematic icon. during this succinct biography, Peter Wild evaluates Kurosawa’s movies whereas providing a view of the guy at the back of the digital camera, from his kin existence to his international audience.

After discussing Kurosawa’s youth in Japan, Wild explores his years as an assistant director at a brand new movie studio and his early movies in the course of and after international warfare II ahead of he gained foreign acclaim with Rashomon. whereas surveying Kurosawa’s awesome profession, Wild additionally examines the myriad criticisms the director confronted either inside of his personal nation and abroad—he used to be too stimulated via Western cinema; no longer authentically eastern; and he was once too sentimental, naïve, boastful, or out of contact. via putting Kurosawa and his motion pictures within the context of his instances, Wild is helping us to appreciate the director and the reproaches opposed to him. Cogent and concise, Akira Kurosawa could be crucial studying for an individual attracted to the paintings of this masterful filmmaker.

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Additional resources for Akira Kurosawa (Critical Lives)

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Mifune is similarly forced to subdue his normally boisterous presence; he seethes and broods but does not give the audience what they need – a sense that he is at least redeemed by the good work he does for his patients – to truly feel sympathy for him. Although there are scenes that work well, such as when Mifune and Shimura offer to light each other’s 52 cigarettes at the same time, the film is stagey, relying on static medium shots and eschewing the kind of formal experimentalism Kurosawa had already been dabbling with in his other films, never for a moment transcending the story’s theatrical origins.

26 Money was also tight. Kurosawa’s new wife was apparently surprised to learn how little her husband earned as a director for Toho. On The Most Beautiful, for example, Kurosawa earned a flat rate, significantly less than his leading lady. This, in part, led to his work on screenplays, which generated more return. His attempts to raise more money, though, were met with continued challenge, particularly as film-making, as with many Japanese industries at the end of the Second World War, was contracting viciously.

The climactic act of devotion is echoed throughout the film by smaller acts, one young woman continues working despite a broken leg, another attempts to conceal a fever for fear she will be sent home, each of which demonstrates what the authorities felt each person should be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. The decision to film in a documentary style is clear from the opening moments of The Most Beautiful as we watch groups of workers listening to the Head of Production (played by a 39-yearold actor called Takashi Shimura, who would go on to work with Kurosawa in 21 of his 30 films, more even than Toshiro Mifune, the actor most often associated with Kurosawa).

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