Happy 100th Birthday, Akira Kurosawa

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03/23/2010 3:46 PM |

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100 years ago today, on Free Cone Day of 1910, Akira Kurosawa was born outside Tokyo; the John Ford of Japan, his epically scaled, efficiently narrated films drew from pulp fiction and Shakespeare to dramatize his nation’s origin myths and contemporary social problems. Many of his best films (I’m a Yojimbo man, myself) are streamable on Netflix; nearly his entire body of work is easily accessible (a function, perhaps, of his artistic maturation during the postwar golden years of the global art film—or, possibly, of his accessibly Western approach to storytelling and genre).

Earlier this year, the L’s Michael Joshua Rowin discussed Film Forum’s near-comprehensive centennial retrospective, and I considered the expressionistic, often antagonistic role of nature in Kurosawa’s films.

The Criterion Collection, which has released most if not all Kurosawa’s significant films through the Janus Films Library pipeline, is your one-stop source for a wealth of critical and historical essays, and fascinating supplementary materials.

2 Comment

  • all day marathon on TCM today, still going on, Seven Samurai on right now.

    Dersu Uzala is my favorite of his. The man vs nature theme- the sequence during the snowstorm is more famous, but I have to say Dersu’s encounter with the tiger in the night forest toward the latter part of the movie gives me the shivers just thinking about it. And the heartbreaking ending. Such a poetic movie, see it…

  • His movie “The Quiet Duel” is an almost perfect analogy to the AIDS epidemic.