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February 12, 2013
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Film Legends: Akira Kurosawa

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 2:04 AM
Akira Kurosawa by gogman


Born in Tokyo, Japan on the 23rd of March 1910, Akira Kurosawa is considered one of the biggest figures in the film industry and a notable influence to western filmmakers such as George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg.


RASHOMON by sister-sperm


His career started in 1936 as an assistant director. Kurosawa was taken under the wing of director Kajiro Yamamoto, who promoted him to chief assistant director within a year. His first film as a director was Drunken Angel in 1948 and was the first of many collaborations with actor Toshiro Mifune. His international breakthrough came with Rashomon in 1950, a movie that won him the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and opened the gates of the Western to Japanese films.


Sichinin No Samurai by t-rob:thumb299853264:


The following years he worked on Ikiru(1952); Seven Samurai (1954), his first "proper samurai film" regarded by some as the greatest Japanese film ever made; and Throne of Blood (1957), an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth set in the Sengoku era. The mood reflected in his movies after Seven Samurai was dark and pessimistic so he decided to work on a lighthearted and entertaining film for his next project. The result was The Hidden Fortress, the story of a medieval princess, her general and two peasants who need to travel together through enemy lines in order to return to their home region. It's worth noting that this movie was a big influence in the making of Star Wars, as George Lucas himself admitted.


Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo by Borruen


He started the 60's with a pair of samurai comedies: Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962). Both films received positive reviews and were box office successes. The former was widely imitated overseas, the biggest example being Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, a virtual scene-by-scene recreation of Yojimbo. Red Beard (1965), marked the halfway point of Kurosawa's career and remains as one of the best-known and most-loved works in his native country.


Kagemusha by ebonhommthe Mad King - RAN poster by lord-phillock

The following decade would be one of his lowest periods, making him believe he would never be able to make another movie. Kurosawa attempted suicide in 1971, but he survived and managed to get back on his feet. With the help of George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola he made Kagemusha (1980), film that would win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980, among other awards. His next project would be Ran, an epic based on Shakespeare's King Lear. Kurosawa believed this to be his best film and it's considered by some to be one of his finest works along with Kagemusha.


Sunshine Through the Rain by nhoinla


His last movies were Dreams (1990), Rhapsody in August (1991) and Madadayo (1993). He died at the age of 88 on the 6th of September 1998.

AKIRA KUROSAWA by mikevectores



"Movie directors, or should I say people who create things, are very greedy and they can never be satisfied... That's why they can keep on working. I've been able to work for so long because I think next time, I'll make something good." - Akira Kurosawa


Sources:
Wikipedia.
Internet Movie Database.


Small biography of Japanese Film Director Akira Kurosawa, for Art History Project.
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:iconsnoringoldman:
SnoringOldMan Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great article, it's informative and yet concise! ^^ And i like the photos you included!

I wonder why it's harder to find Kurosawa's contemporary movies---by the way, have you seen The Bad Sleep Well, High and Low, or I Live In Fear? Awesome--and very heavy--stuff. ^^
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:iconalexandrasalas:
alexandrasalas Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013   Digital Artist
No, I haven't seen them unfortunately!

It's weird that the contemporary ones would be harder to find though! You would think they would be readily available than say, something from the 40's.
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:iconsnoringoldman:
SnoringOldMan Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Whoops, I actually misspoke--Kurosawa still made Stray Dog, The Bad Sleep Well, etc. in the 40s, 50s and 60s, so at the same time he made his period movies and these had a contemporary setting, so they were modern back then. I actually haven't seen his modern (relative to our time) movies, like Kagemusha.
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:icondarth-sparrowhawk:
Darth-Sparrowhawk Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've seen Rashomon and Seven Samurai, and I've always wanted to see Stray Dog, a film noir inspired piece. But I can never find it! :iconsawbplz:
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:iconalexandrasalas:
alexandrasalas Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013   Digital Artist
Oh no! Some of his films may be very difficult to find, but I hope you succeed in finding Stray Dog!
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:icondarth-sparrowhawk:
Darth-Sparrowhawk Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw, thank you, and thank you also for posting this journal. It reminded me to continue to look~
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:iconalexandrasalas:
alexandrasalas Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013   Digital Artist
I'm glad to be of service! <3
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:iconcontraltissimo:
Contraltissimo Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Very nice. :clap:
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:iconalexandrasalas:
alexandrasalas Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013   Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconkajigoddess:
kajigoddess Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Liked this article, as I am definitely a fan of his films. ^_^ One film of his that I liked, but you didn't mention, was "Sanshiro Sugata." It was actually directed by him in 1943 (and really was the first film he directed, before "Drunken Angel") and although it doesn't have Mifune in it, it was still fun to watch. It's a typical sports story about a young man who discovers judo and overcomes obstacles to become great, but there's something about the way he presents the story that makes it feel fresh and vibrant. Check it out if you can!
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