By Peter Wild
“Most administrators have one movie for which they're identified or probably two,” stated Francis Ford Coppola. “Akira Kurosawa has 8 or nine.” via masterpieces resembling Kagemusha, Seven Samurai, and High and Low, Akira Kurosawa (1910–98) prompted administrators from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to Martin Scorsese, and his groundbreaking suggestions in cinematography and enhancing, mixed together with his storytelling, made him a cinematic icon. during this succinct biography, Peter Wild evaluates Kurosawa’s movies whereas delivering a view of the fellow at the back of the digital camera, from his kin lifestyles to his worldwide audience.
After discussing Kurosawa’s adolescence in Japan, Wild explores his years as an assistant director at a brand new movie studio and his early movies in the course of and after international struggle II earlier than he received overseas acclaim with Rashomon. whereas surveying Kurosawa’s outstanding occupation, Wild additionally examines the myriad criticisms the director confronted either inside his personal nation and abroad—he was once too prompted by way of Western cinema; now not authentically eastern; and he used to be too sentimental, naïve, conceited, or out of contact. by means of putting Kurosawa and his movies within the context of his instances, Wild is helping us to appreciate the director and the reproaches opposed to him. Cogent and concise, Akira Kurosawa might be crucial examining for an individual attracted to the paintings of this masterful filmmaker.
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Additional resources for Akira Kurosawa (Critical Lives)
29 I began with the task of ridding the young actresses of everything they had physically and emotionally acquired that smacked of theatricality. The odor of make-up, the snobbery, the affectations of the stage, that special self-consciousness that only actors have – all this had to go. 10 This formed the basis of a practice that would continue throughout his career in ﬁlms, with his cast living on set during pre-production and shooting, addressing each other by their character’s names and often wearing full costume and make-up.
25 Standing in a room alongside people who were either physically disabled or had suffered nervous breakdowns, Kurosawa found himself in the midst of a roll call that he personally passed with ﬂying colours. The roll call was eventually interrupted by air raid sirens that signalled another saturation bombing of 36 Yokohama. 26 Money was also tight. Kurosawa’s new wife was apparently surprised to learn how little her husband earned as a director for Toho. On The Most Beautiful, for example, Kurosawa earned a ﬂat rate, signiﬁcantly less than his leading lady.
23 The demands of a war, particularly one on the scale of the Second World War, led to dramatic economies at home, not least being the fact that Kurosawa, his negative cutter Yoshie Yano and his script supervisor Hachiko Toi had to use old ﬁlm and suffer power shortages during editing. As such, the battle between Sanshiro and Teshin looks these days more like silhouette animation, shadows at play against a white blanket. Allied bombing had also left the ﬁlm industry practically in ruins. Sanshiro Sugata 2 was one of only ﬁve ﬁlms released by Toho in the run-up to the Japanese surrender and for these distribution was difﬁcult as over half of the cinemas in Japan had been destroyed in air raids.
Akira Kurosawa (Critical Lives) by Peter Wild