Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Apologies, Akira


Today would've been Akira Kurosawa's 100th birthday (he died in 1998). I am shamefully, like really really shamefully, behind in my Kurosawa viewing. I have seen Rashomon and Seven Samurai. Yes, period. Period! Oh, the shame. Movies like Ran and Dreams and Throne of Blood and Yojimbo have been clogging my Netflix queue for ages now... but they never quite make it to the top. There's a good article at The Guardian today naming the ten essential Kurosawa films. Somebody yell at me with the ones I have to watch immediately. No excuses for this cinematic lapse.


Ivan said...

High & Low: an incredible crime thriller that plunges into absolute existential despair.

Sanjuro: The sequel to Yojimbo, and (because it wasn't remade a dozen times) much fresher than the original film.

BTW, I know Rashamon is the flick that brought AK international prominence, but I think it is also incredibly dated now and somewhat dull, especially when compared to Stray Dog or The Bad Sleep Well.


Anonymous said...

Throne of Blood's Lady Macbeth is one of my favourite female movie villains. She's full on Joan Crawford scary. Only Japanese. If it weren't for the kimono, she'd be a whirlwind of teeth and nails. As is she, she glares and baby steps menacingly this way and that. It's not her movie, but she owns my memory of it.


ps--I know it's a great film and all, but I just do not like Ran...if I want to look at clouds, I'll go outside. I could use the vitamin D.

Dr. Stan Glick said...

You must correct this cinematic travesty ASAP! A.K. made so many great films, several of them masterpieces or near masterpieces. Put "Drunken Angel" (Criterion) high on you queue and don't let it slide. it's the first film Kurosawa did with Mifune who is not to be missed as a yakuza with TB, especially in the scene where he drunkenly dances around with his pompadour (?!) flying! Mifune steals the movie from Shimura, the film's title character, a besotted neighborhood doctor in Post WWII Japan. keep us posted on your Kurosawa progress.

J.D. said...

I've only seen Ran, Rashomon, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress and most recently The Bad Sleep Well (which I can't believe how underrated it is). And I have like, 5 on my DVR right (YAY TCM MONTH-LONG SERIES OF MARATHONS!).

Jason Adams said...

You guys rock, thanks for all the advice!

Ivan, I wasn't that thrilled by Rashomon when I saw it last year, and it being the first of his films I'd ever seen, I think it put a damper on my enthusiasm. But I know, one film a Master does not make. And it's not like Rashomon was terrible or anything, just... yeah, kinda dull.

And JD I just heard about this TCM marathon today, I'm such a jackass. I'd have loaded my DVR up too. I guess I'll try to set it for whatever they still have to show when I get home tonight. Blurgh!

J.D. said...

Well, tonight is...Rashomon and Seven Samurai, lol. And Yojimbo/Sanjuro! So there's that.

Robin said...

It's not really considered his best - and, to be honest, it gets slow in the middle - but the first three sequences and, most of all, the last sequence of Dreams are possibly my favorite pieces of film ever.

Dr. Stan Glick said...

Forgot to mention before that for me the most telling thing about Kurosawa's stature is the fact that he has more of his films in The Criterion Collection than any other director. By far.



you simply must.

i also have a soft spot for Yojimbo (because its the first one i saw)

and i thought DREAMS was kinda cool but maybe more cool in my experience of watching it than in the film itself (i saw it in japanese with norwegian subtitles when i could barely read norwegian but since it was so visual, it delighted.)