Author Topic: Akira Kurosawa  (Read 24609 times)

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JG

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #120 on: November 07, 2005, 09:05:02 PM »
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Apart of their samurai series, The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusets will be showing Seven Samurai this thursday night.  so if any of you are from boston then u might wanna check it out.  i

MacGuffin

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #121 on: June 11, 2006, 09:59:18 PM »
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Kurosawa and Coppola Bonded over Whiskey



Thanks to the epic power of the internet, we all now know about the appearances Hollywood stars make in Japanese ads. No matter what they're shilling for, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, George Clooney and dozens of others can earn piles of obscenely easy money by simply lending their mugs to an advertising campaign or 12. This is not, however, a new phenomenon. For example, way back in the dark ages of 1980, Francis Ford Coppola joined Akira Kurosawa (whose Kagemusha he was then producing) in spots for Suntory whiskey, a product Kurosawa had been endorsing for at least a decade.

Happily, a bunch of the spots -- both with and without Coppola, and directed by Kurosawa himself -- have been uploaded to YouTube for our viewing pleasure.

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #122 on: September 24, 2006, 01:35:04 PM »
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How 'Seven Samurai' was saved

(CNN) -- The process of restoring a classic film -- indeed a film considered one of the greatest in movie history -- conjures up the old joke about how to feed a hungry lion.

The answer: very carefully.

Such was the challenge to the folks at the Criterion Collection when they embarked on a project to reissue Akira Kurosawa's 1954 work "Seven Samurai." The film had been the second the company had ever released on DVD, in 1998, in an edition that duplicated a version the company had put out in the now-defunct laserdisc format.

But technology had greatly improved in the ensuing decade, and when the opportunity came to clean up a release that Criterion executive producer Kim Hendrickson describes as "substandard" by the company's lights, they dove in.

"It was a huge opportunity to tackle a great film," she said.

Not that it was easy.

"Samurai" is one of Kurosawa's masterpieces, a 207-minute epic of 16th-century Japan. Villagers, terrorized by bandits, asks an old samurai if he'll defend their town. He finds six other samurai -- as well as an apprentice -- and the group does battle with the bandits.

The simple plot doesn't do justice to the movie, which includes an energetic and almost feral performance by Toshiro Mifune and concludes with a messy, gloriously shot and edited confrontation in the rain.

"Complicated tracking shots compete with equally elaborate and fast-paced editing to create a film whose constant prevailing tempo is that of war punctuated by ever shorter intervals of peace," wrote film historian David Cook in "A History of Narrative Film," describing "Samurai" as "a stunning achievement."

The film inspired "The Magnificent Seven" (1960), along with a number of other American (and spaghetti) Westerns.

"This is a special film," said Lee Kline, the technical director on the "Samurai" reissue, which came out at the beginning of September.

But special or not, it had been more than a half-century since "Samurai" was made, and the original negative -- the source material for printing the finished product on celluloid -- was missing.

To begin the process, Criterion located an early negative and an early positive and determined the positive was the closest to the original. So the company made a new negative, using "Wetgate processing," a chemical system that fills in flaws in the original material.

That was just for starters. The technical team had to cope with the fact that the positive had shrunk, meaning that light could get in around the edges of the frame; that scenes contained black frames or missing frames, making transitions jarring; even that the original mono soundtrack had to be restored. (See below.)

Some issues were dealt with through technology; others took painstaking research, as with a search to find existing versions of the film's shots without the black frames.

In some cases, the Criterion crew had to ask itself what the filmmaker intended. (Kurosawa died in 1998.) One scene shows a very obvious hair at the top of the frame, a hair that probably existed in Kurosawa's camera -- and has been seen in the film since its release.

"They opted not to reshoot, and we had to honor that," Kline said. The crew is constantly asking itself, he said, "When we fix something, are we doing something we shouldn't do?"

The result -- which took two years and thousands of hours -- has earned raves from cinephiles. "This is my vote for release of the year," wrote reviewer Pat Wahlquist on HomeTheaterForum.com.

Kline said he is pleased as well, though he always wishes he had more time.

"For the most part, you wish you had a few more weeks," he said. "People are used to pristine. But if we did that, we'd never get it out."




Before and after versions of details from two frames from Akira Kurosawa's “Seven Samurai” show improvements after the 1954 Japanese film classic underwent a rigorous restoration process.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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SiliasRuby

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #123 on: March 04, 2009, 01:49:08 PM »
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Kagemusha Review

For a while I've been meaning to see more Kurosawa since I only have seen 5 of his films: 'Dreams', 'rashoman' 'Sanjuro', 'Yojimbo', and 'the seven samurai', (even though I have 'stray dog' on dvd). I love all of them. Especially 'sanjuro' and 'yojimbo'. So I was excited when I popped in 'Kagemusha' into my dvd player.

'Kagemusha' is quite an epic feat, clocking in at just under three hours and showing the story of a shadow of a very powerful man, it was a bit confusing at times in the sense that finding out exactly what was going to happen next. It kept you guessing and although I prefer my Kurosawa in a more violent and scarier light this had shades of another conspiracy thriller 'JFK'-from the heavy cover up side. Its amazing how far others will go in the name of keeping the honor of someone so loved and hated within the country.

There's a scene an hour in, in which if you just listened to the audio, you think you were listening to an Africanized version of Radiohead. This film really has everything you want from a big epic, including some characters you don't care for at all. Its strange to be so involved in a story when you have no real stake in the characters. It is really quite beautiful and its really about a transformation.

It mixes with a lot of ideas of why a figurehead, even a destitute one, or an unlearned one has to be presented to uphold the illusion of power and safety.

Ravi is quite right, and yes I was never bored during the running time as well. There's sequence thats actually pretty cool that appears to be in a dream, its extremely colorful and decadent and while this film is shot in a traditional way and the story itself is a bit traditional, the film itself isn't.

And oh, god, that ending.
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Alexandro

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #124 on: March 27, 2009, 06:59:07 PM »
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well just to contribute a little this thread...

IKIRU: Was a minor letdown for me. I felt at times chocked with it's lack of subtlety, and damn is 2 hours and 40 minutes!!! Kurosawa had a kind of bipolar approach to his art. He was capable of almost saccharine sentimentality and of the darkest of views, Ikiru goes in the first direction a little too much.

YOJIMBO and SANJURO: Are terrific, crazy fun. His use of the widescreen is impeccable, and really he gives depth and elegance to what lesser filmmakers have turned into genre crap.

RED BEARD: One of his bests. Such a human, compassionate portrait of a life. I agree that this is probably Mifune's best work of what I've seen. It feels like an intimate epic.

RASHOMON: Of course a corner stone. I've seen it a bunch of times and it never stops being interesting and fun, this is the work of a master at the top of his game.

SEVEN SAMURAI: Well, few films are as perfect as this one. We wouldn't have half of the adventure films out there if it weren't for this. I mean Lord of the Rings is basically Seven Samurai all over again.

HIGH & LOW: I liked it but felt it was tooo long. And not too subtle either. But Mifune is amazing in it.

THE BAD SLEEP WELL: This is one of my favorites. And it's also my favorite Hamlet re imagining. Doesn't feel long at all and it has a kind of fast pace compared to the rest of his filmography.

DERSU UZALA: Damn this is a fine movie, one of those that breathes and lives because of the main character who is just awesome in every possible way. You can feel Kurosawa's heart and hurt in this film, but also the grandness of his soul.

DREAMS: Was the first Kurosawa I ever saw. Love the visuals even though the film is waaay too in your face with the ecological message. Some of the images in this movie are unforgettable.

THRONE OF BLOOD: I love it because of it's darkness, and it just feels like a tremendous achievement. I just don't understand how one guy can make so many great movies in such a scale.

KAGEMUSHA: Doesn't really gets to the point where it wants to and it shows, nevertheless it still pretty amazing, the use of color, the wardrobes, the regard I guess. I think Coppola is right that maybe the film needed another actor.

RAPSODY IN AUGUST: Not too good. But still moving at points, I mean the shot of the old lady fighting the storm is classic for me.

RAN: This is my favorite and his definitive masterpiece of masterpieces. Really awesomely dark and depressing, but never preachy. You can feel he had a clear and resoluted mind when making this film, and it just gets me every time. The way the main character starts losing it, the blood, the battles, damn just writing about it made wanna see it again. The criterion is fantastic by the way.

SiliasRuby

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #125 on: August 01, 2009, 09:50:33 PM »
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I just saw 'Red Beard' and man what a triumph. Sooo soo good. A intimate character story if I saw one. A bit long but I was totally engrossed in this story of the doctor and his new intern. Just blew me the hell away. Sounds like I'm going to be let down by 'Ikiru' but I'm going to try to be optimistic.
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Gold Trumpet

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #126 on: August 01, 2009, 10:20:42 PM »
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I just saw 'Red Beard' and man what a triumph. Sooo soo good. A intimate character story if I saw one. A bit long but I was totally engrossed in this story of the doctor and his new intern. Just blew me the hell away. Sounds like I'm going to be let down by 'Ikiru' but I'm going to try to be optimistic.

Ikiru is a major film for Kurosawa so look forward to it. It was made in the early 50s so is different than his later dramas, but the film is still magnificent. Because of the time period in which the film was made, I like to depict the film as a continuation of Italian Neo-Realism. The Italians were heralded for their realism, but subsequent decades of storytelling advancement shows that the Italians were still very sentimental and genre oriented in their storytelling at the time. They were forced to shoot films in the street, but many of the filmmakers were still indoctrinated in the Italian system of filmmaking so revolutionary advancements weren't being made. The French New Wave had lots of new filmmakers with new sensibilities so that was a true new wave.

I think it's more than coincidence that when Ikiru was released in America, De Sica's Umberto D (the final major Neo-Realist film) was also being released. Some critics even wrote original reviews for both films in the same article because they begged comparison, but it seems obvious to me Kurosawa was influenced by different storytelling and filmmakers at the time. Italian Neo-Realism had been in vogue for years and Ikiru feels like that movement. I think it allows the viewer to take the film into context because you can't start putting Red Beard, Ran, and Ikiru together like they beg comparison. Considering how far apart each film was made, it would be unfair.

SiliasRuby

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #127 on: August 01, 2009, 11:02:33 PM »
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I haven't seen 'Ran' yet, but I won't compare them. I haven't compared any of Kurosawa's films yet and will continue not to, but only because of you GT.
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SiliasRuby

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #128 on: August 02, 2009, 12:41:58 PM »
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'Ikiru' had it all. It feels strange to weep at he end of a kurosawa film. The sentimentality worked for me and i felt vindacated at every action the main character made. It does have that neo-realism vibe and its very different from 'red beard'. The sad but inspirational journey this man goes on could make every atheist feel scared. It also shows the bearacratic nature of government. These a great humorous scene near the beginning that made me sight with laughter.
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Lottery

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #129 on: February 14, 2014, 07:26:50 AM »
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I just watched Ame Agaru (After the Rain) which is based on the last screenplay Kurosawa ever wrote. Lovely little film at heart and quite removed from the heroic intensity of his other works. Though I must say, a more appropriate title would be 'The Nicest and Best Samurai in the World'. Can't find a trailer but there's like two or three copies of the entire film up on youtube.


Mel

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Re: kurosawa
« Reply #130 on: September 21, 2014, 02:27:01 PM »
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Simple mind - simple pleasures...

 

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