Akira Kurisawa

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Akira Kurisawa

Post by Dennis324 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:12 am

Hey Bryant!

Werent you the one I was having a discussion with awhile back about this director and Japanese film?

Well, the other day I was pleasantly surprised to find that my DVR had automatically recorded 5 of his films. I got:

The Bride with White Hair
The Seven Samurai
Rashomon
Red Beard
and one other, i forget which.

TCM was having a Toshiro Mifune film festival and after our last discussion on the topic, I had set my dvr to automatically record anything by him. So I got a gold mine of samurai films. I was also able to watch Mifune in a couple of his "Samurai" trilogy. Pt 2 and 3 i think. I missed part 1 though so I really didnt know the Samurai's backstory.

Anyway, did you catch this film festival on TCM? What did you think about the films?

I want to see if I can find some Sho Kosugi films now. Smile

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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Bryant on Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:50 am

Dennis324 wrote:Hey Bryant!

Werent you the one I was having a discussion with awhile back about this director and Japanese film?

Well, the other day I was pleasantly surprised to find that my DVR had automatically recorded 5 of his films. I got:

The Bride with White Hair
The Seven Samurai
Rashomon
Red Beard
and one other, i forget which.

TCM was having a Toshiro Mifune film festival and after our last discussion on the topic, I had set my dvr to automatically record anything by him. So I got a gold mine of samurai films. I was also able to watch Mifune in a couple of his "Samurai" trilogy. Pt 2 and 3 i think. I missed part 1 though so I really didnt know the Samurai's backstory.

Anyway, did you catch this film festival on TCM? What did you think about the films?

I want to see if I can find some Sho Kosugi films now. Smile

Ah, wish I knew about the TCM marathon. I've not seen Red Beard. I had to look up The Bride with White Hair and all I could find was a Chinese movie directed by Ronny Yu.

Rashomon is a truly bizarre film. That said, its uniqueness is a testament to Kurosawa's artistic abilities. Seven Samurai is another great (albeit less artistic) film that had a strangely profound impact on the American and Italian western (the basic plot is recycled for far more than The Magnificent Seven).

I'd recommend Ran (currently on Netflix instant streaming), Throne of Blood, Sanjuro/Yojimbo, and Hidden Fortress if you want to see some more great Kurosawa samurai flicks. Ran is a brilliant retelling of King Lear, a very bleak but masterful movie. Throne of Blood continues the Shakespeare theme, translating Macbeth from Scotland to medieval Japan. Sjanjuro and Yojimbo are more comedies than anything else, Yojimbo was later remade into A Fist Full of Dollars (Clint Eastwood), Last Man Standing (Bruce Willis), and Lucky Number Sleven (Bruce Willis). Hidden Fortress is the lesser of the movies listed, but appears to have influenced Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. If you want to see some more non-samurai Kurosawa films, try Bad Sleep Well (a very dark film, very loosely translating elements of Hamlet to 1950's Japanese business world) or High Low.

I'm not familiar with Kosugi, I'll have to look into his works.
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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Dennis324 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:22 am

AHK! Yeah, Yojimbo was the name of the other movie I got. I think I've seen Hidden fortress and it was a fine film. I loved it.

I remember Sho Kosugi's films when I was a teen back in the 70s. It was martial arts, but with the samurai sword. Also, wasnt 'Bride' a film about a woman who used her hair as a weapon? I think I saw it once. I'll check it out pretty soon. Smile

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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Dennis324 on Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:33 am

Ew...I just watched a Sho Kosugi trailer "Enter the Ninja" on youtube. It wasnt as good as I'd remembered.

Very campy. low budget. Not nearly as artistic and beautiful as Kurosawa's films. Its like comparing ...the old 60s tv show "Stingray" to Star Wars...or the Star Trek films.



Man...I must've been high.

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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Dennis324 on Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:52 am

I watched Kurasawa's "Throne of Blood" the other night.

Man...it was terrific! I'm not really good at describing the merits of cinematography, but the director's use of fog, and the tangled trees was awsome! Beautifully filmed. Mifune and his pal did ride around in circles in the fog (to indicate they got lost) a bit longer than was necessary imo, but that is the ONLY flaw I could find int he film.

The scene with the ghosts were fun. The way Mifune's wife in the film kept fueling his suspicious mind with imagined plots was superb! And when her ghost returned with her trying to wash blood from her hands sort of made me think that was her punishment...a sort of hell for her.

Loved the death scene at the end where Mifune dies in a hail of arrows! I was wondering how they filmed that. It really looked like someone was actually shooting arrows across the scene!

I absolutely love Kurasawa's samurai films and wish Hollywood would go back to filming in black and white a little more often. they've done this a little bit in recent years (Sin City) as well as "Dead men dont wear Plaid".

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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Bryant on Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:57 am

If you want a slight change of pace, try War of the Arrows by Han-min Kim. Its an epic South Korean movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2025526/
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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Dennis324 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:13 am

Ooh that lookws like a good one! I read the plot on wikipedia and I'm gonna set up my dvr to record it if it comes on. Thanks! Smile

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Re: Akira Kurisawa

Post by Dennis324 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:32 am

Bryant, I finally got around to watching Red Beard the other night. The plot is very different from Kurasawa's samurai films. But its shot in the same style and is a good (not great) film imo. Toshiro Mifune plays a doctor in charge of a hospice like clinic in feudal Japan. only 1 fight scene and its all hand to hand...lasts about 2 minutes. Mifune isnt even the real protagonist.

Last night I watched another Japaneses subtitled film by Kenji Mizoguchi called Life of Oharu. Again, it focuses on feudal Japan (I like that period), but this time the film was a tragedy about the life of a girl who goes from concubine, to courtesan to finally wind up an old 50-ish prostetute. Pretty good film.

Kenji is the director who made the wonderful Sansho the Bailiff we talked about earlier, which may be one of my favorite. Smile

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