Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Mar. 23: Kurosawa Akira, Japanese filmmaker


Kurosawa Akira (1910-1998) was a Japanese filmmaker who is amongst a handful of the greatest in his craft. You can't really claim to know much about film if you don't know his. He directed thirty films over five decades, directing his first during World War II (after starting out as a painter and then working in the industry for most of a decade). Sixteen of his films featured the actor Toshiro Mifune. Some of his more significant works were Rashomon, famous for telling the same story (with variations) from different points of view; Ikiru, which examines the struggles of a terminally ill Tokyo bureaucrat and his final quest for meaning; Seven Samurai, the inspiration for Hollywood's The Magnificent Seven; Yojimbo, about two crime bosses vying for the services of a masterless samurai (the inspiration for the Spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars); Kagemusha, about a lower-class criminal who impersonates a dying warlord to discourage advances by his enemies; and Ran, with a plot derived from Shakespeare's King Lear. Kurosawa received the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1990.


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