The Kurosawa Project

I’ve studied film formally–off and on–for the last 3 decades, but find myself woefully lacking in depth of some of the great directors of world cinema.  Now that my formal education has likely run to its full extent, this seems like a good time to delve deeply into areas where I’ve only had surveys.  After seeing a screening of Kurosawa’s High and Low several weeks ago I realize that his work is a great place to start.  I’ve seen The Seven Samurai and Rashomon for certain, and probably one or two of his other Samurai films, but it wasn’t until looking at High and Low until I realized that there is far more to AK than swords and sandals, and incredible depth to his direction, mise-en-scene, and cinematography.

Having said that, the general plan is to study each of his films chronologically–based on their creation date and not their international release, more on that later–using several books as background.  These include Kurosawa’s on Something Like An Autobiography, Donald Richie’s The Films of Akira Kurosawa, Peter Cowie’s Akira Kurosawa, Master of Cinema, James Goodwin’s Akira Kurosawa and Intertextual Cinema, and The Warriors’ Camera: the Cinema of Akira Kurosawa by Stephen Prince.

The goal is to view each film and put together several hundred words (or more) on each, using the above texts as background an analysis.  It is expected that patterns will emerge both artistically and thematically across decades and genres.

So with all that preface, off we go.  Hopefully I can manage a film per week, which means getting through the AK canon in roughly 6 months.  Next stop, Sanshiro Sugata (1943).


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