Akira Kurosawa

Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History, edited by Arthur Nolletti Jr. and David Desser

Reframing Japanese Cinema provides a comprehensive and varied perspective on Japanese cinema through a series of essays on a director’s signature style (authorship), culturally representative film genres, and historical evolution of the Japanese film industry. Of the three sections on Authorship, Genre, and History, the articles on Authorship provide the most revealing insight into the… read more »

Ran, 1985

Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai) has lived a long and prosperous life of a feudal warlord, his reign marked by devastating territorial battles, humiliation of the vanquished, and brutal punishment of those who flout his authority. One day, in the presence of neighboring feudal lords and attendants, he announces his decision to step down from power… read more »

Dersu Uzala, 1974

Given the expanse of the Siberian wilderness as his cinematic canvas, Akira Kurosawa responds with the visually hypnotic, deeply affecting portrait of nature, friendship, and survival in Dersu Uzala. Based on the journals of Russian explorer Vladimir Arseniev, the film opens to a forest that is being cleared for development, and Arseniev searching for an… read more »

High and Low, 1963

High and Low never wavers under the assured direction of Akira Kurosawa. It is, all at once: a procedural crime story, a social commentary on the casualties of industrialization, the redemption of a man’s soul. A wealthy executive, Gondo (Toshiro Mifune), hosts an informal board meeting in his insular residence atop a hill, overlooking the… read more »

Seven Samurai, 1954

In 16th century Japan, protracted feudal wars have created a prevailing sense of lawlessness. Bandits have organized into formidable armies that scavenge the countryside in search of villages to loot. One morning, a band of thieves arrive at the outskirts of a farming community, but is persuaded to delay their attack until the barley has… read more »

Ikiru, 1952

Akira Kurosawa uses the camera to distance himself from his subject. In Ikiru, the camera serves as the mirror to his soul. Ikiru is the subtly poignant and heartbreaking story of Kanji Watanabi (Takashi Shimura), a middle aged government bureaucrat who has been diagnosed with terminal gastric cancer. Realizing that he has squandered his life… read more »