By identifying King Lear with the ancient Japanese warlord Hidetora, whose violations emerge from a breach of publicly identified self-hood, Akira Kurosawa plays with the quintessentially Shakespearean focus on individual personality.
These films represented Akira Kurosawa’s ascendance to greater international acclaim, while he struggled to find financing in Japan, where the movie industry was shriveling.
There are striking differences between Kurosawa’s earlier and later films, including in the different ways people have responded to these two groups of films.
These three Kurosawa films represent the end of one phase of his career and the beginning of another. High and Low is a police procedural that is regarded as one of his greatest films, while Red Beard represented the end of his so-called “Creative Period”.
If punk is for those who reject mainstream culture, then in the music film Sound of Metal, nothing is more punk than radical deaf acceptance.
Today’s Kurosawa 101 focuses on what’s generally regarded as the greatest Japanese film ever made and perhaps the greatest in world film: Seven Samurai.
When Akira Kurosawa made the conversion to a wider screen, he did so by making six consecutive films in widescreen, with a degree of success as resounding as it was influential.
Today’s Kurosawa 101 explores two of the greatest films in Kurosawa’s catalog, Rashomon — the film that made Kurosawa and Japanese cinema known throughout the world — and Ikiru — perhaps the greatest film ever made about impending death.
Today’s Kurosawa 101 films include the director’s only effort at bringing a contemporary Japanese stage play to the screen (the rarely seen The Quiet Duel), a police procedural that was the finest Kurosawa film to date (Stray Dog), and a scree against tabloid journalism that resulted in one of the weakest films he would ever direct (Scandal).