The Films of Akira Kurosawa Epub å Films of Akira

The Films of Akira Kurosawa If you know of Kurosawa, you know that this Japanese film director has admirers and imitators all over the world From Bergman to Spielberg, from Polanski to Lucas, Kurosawa s movies have been studied and appreciated.I like Kurosawa for many reasons but one of the most important is that he knew how to entertain as well as inform One of the things that interested me In many of his films, we see how he was able to reach back into feudal Japanese history to inform present day issues Richie gives If you know of Kurosawa, you know that this Japanese film director has admirers and imitators all over the world From Bergman to Spielberg, from Polanski to Lucas, Kurosawa s movies have been studied and appreciated.I like Kurosawa for many reasons but one of the most important is that he knew how to entertain as well as inform One of the things that interested me In many of his films, we see how he was able to reach back into feudal Japanese history to inform present day issues Richie gives us the most and the best approach to understanding those films with a lot of the book devoted to how and often why each film was made Too much information for those with just a casual interest, it is the must have analysis for true fans I ve read a few chapters here and there and have generally found them informative and expressive Why, then, are Dersu Uzala and Dreams so viciously derided They re not bad films by any measure, and not even the worst that Kurosawa had to offer.The good chapters are good, so I ll keep returning to this when I have niggling Kurosawa questions But, jeez, Richie should ve hired another writer for those bad chapters, a writer who actually saw the good qualities in good movies.Dismissively panning I ve read a few chapters here and there and have generally found them informative and expressive Why, then, are Dersu Uzala and Dreams so viciously derided They re not bad films by any measure, and not even the worst that Kurosawa had to offer.The good chapters are good, so I ll keep returning to this when I have niggling Kurosawa questions But, jeez, Richie should ve hired another writer for those bad chapters, a writer who actually saw the good qualities in good movies.Dismissively panning Ishiro Honda, as he does in the Dreams chapter, is just absurd and mean, especially if one is going to ignore the importance of his relationship with Kurosawa, and criticize him for something he wasn t even responsible, i.e., visual effects Honda was a director his effects artist was Eiji Tsuburaya.Lazily dismissing artists on the grounds that they propagate low culture has fallen out of style in recent years, and it s ugly when a dinosaur like Donald Richie tries to do it This might be the best book on film And I say that after having long dropped Kurosawa from my list of top directors.Individual chapters based on each of the director s films, supplemented by hundreds of impressive photos and the book s extra large size, make the book appear at first glance like one of those collectible fan books for the likes of the Star Wars or James Bond franchises Far from it, Richie strikes the perfect balance between the compartmentalized readability of other film guides This might be the best book on film And I say that after having long dropped Kurosawa from my list of top directors.Individual chapters based on each of the director s films, supplemented by hundreds of impressive photos and the book s extra large size, make the book appear at first glance like one of those collectible fan books for the likes of the Star Wars or James Bond franchises Far from it, Richie strikes the perfect balance between the compartmentalized readability of other film guides and the rich depths of serious academic inquiry, without sacrificing his critical eye His expertise on all matters Japanese enriches the discussion of Kurosawa s films to include pertinent information about the director s influences, significant Japanese history especially pertaining to Toho and the Japanese film industry and the productive tension between Eastern and Western thought that is so eloquently portrayed in Kurosawa s best works.That Kurosawa is the subject of such a momentous work is perhaps fitting since he stands as perhaps the most dynamic and accessible bridge between classical Hollywood narrative formula and foreign art house aesthetics Another reason for the book s oversize format Would thatserious film scholarship were so thoughtful, splendidly realized and jargon free I ve said it before and I ll say it again Donald Richie is the shit The critic who both knows his shit and doesn t come off like an unbearable pretentious Jackass is worth his weight in Gold Richie is so good I suspect he might actually be Gold I m serious he needs to be careful I don t think I could take it if Kayne West made Rims out of him. I was in a coffee shop years ago that played vintage black and white films on a big screen I think it was there that I stumbled on to a Kurosawa film I later purchased a host of Criterion Collection films, all AK, and have been adding to my collection since This book is a treasure trove of information for any souls interested in knowing the behind the scenes info and plot character discussion of Kurosawa s films before or after a film viewing It s a work in progress for me as I will read a c I was in a coffee shop years ago that played vintage black and white films on a big screen I think it was there that I stumbled on to a Kurosawa film I later purchased a host of Criterion Collection films, all AK, and have been adding to my collection since This book is a treasure trove of information for any souls interested in knowing the behind the scenes info and plot character discussion of Kurosawa s films before or after a film viewing It s a work in progress for me as I will read a chapter carefully before watching the film I love this book He was an amazing film director that should be studied by anyone interested in films with substance depth . A comprehensive and a thorough dissection of the director s work The author is straight forward with his analysis and almost systematic with his breakdown, which rarely allowed my imagination to further interpret his meanings Though there were a few Kurosawa quotes in the book that helped balance this out My favorite quote being On what it means to create I think that to find what is real one must look very closely at one s world, to search for those things that contribute to this reality A comprehensive and a thorough dissection of the director s work The author is straight forward with his analysis and almost systematic with his breakdown, which rarely allowed my imagination to further interpret his meanings Though there were a few Kurosawa quotes in the book that helped balance this out My favorite quote being On what it means to create I think that to find what is real one must look very closely at one s world, to search for those things that contribute to this reality which one feels under the surface These are few and one uses them to create These are the core around which the world moves, the axis on which it turns As a cinephile who enjoys watching Kurosawa movies, this book was far from a light read Each chapter broke down a Kurosawa film beginning with his first and progressing forward in the director s timeline You could tell the author was an expert in the director s filmography from the slightest details he was able to pick apart and bring to your attention For instance, in his analysis of Ran, he would point out that a shot s composition would be structured in a way that matched the context of the scene Like if the characters in the scene were working together as one group, the actors would be standing or positioned in a circular fashion on the screen to reflect this intent On the contrary, if there was tension or if a relationship was strained between the characters, the actors would be standing in a way that metaphorically exemplified this meaning Perhaps, one actor would be split on the right side of the screen whereas the other actor would be on the left The only thing that I thought the book lacked were anecdotes or gossips that were legendary in the film tabloids back then Such as, how Kurosawa s relationship with Mifune became strained after Red Beard All in all, this serious study of Kurosawa s work is not for the casual fan, but if you are up for the challenge, be prepared to re watch some of Kurosawa s classic works to keep pace with the author s reviews In an epilogue provided for his incomparable study of Akira Kurosawa , Donald Richie reflects on Kurosawa s life work of thirty feature films and describes his last, unfinished project, a film set in the Edo period to be called The Ocean Was WatchingKurosawa remains unchallenged as one of the century s greatest film directors Through his long and distinguished career he managed, like very few others in the teeth of a huge and relentless industry, to elevate each of his films to a distinctive level of art His Rashomon one of the best remembered and most talked of films in any language was a revelation when it appeared inand did much to bring Japanese cinema to the world s attention Kurosawa s films display an extraordinary breadth and an astonishing strength, from the philosophic and sexual complexity of Rashomon to the moral dedication of Ikiru, from the naked violence of Seven Samurai to the savage comedy of Yojimbo, from the terror filled feudalism of Throne of Blood to the piercing wit of Sanjuro This book covers all 30 films by master director Akira Kurosawa, giving a little bit of context about the production of each film and going deep into the themes and techniques The author has met and interviewed Kurosawa so his insights are very useful to understand Kurosawa and his work At times he goes too in depth though, I found myself disinterested in some parts, probably due to my poor knowledge of filmmaking There is one other thing that bothered me a lot He always uses the actor s nam This book covers all 30 films by master director Akira Kurosawa, giving a little bit of context about the production of each film and going deep into the themes and techniques The author has met and interviewed Kurosawa so his insights are very useful to understand Kurosawa and his work At times he goes too in depth though, I found myself disinterested in some parts, probably due to my poor knowledge of filmmaking There is one other thing that bothered me a lot He always uses the actor s names when talking about the story, which I found very annoying because I had to check the film s credits to understand who he was talking about Even if it s Mifune, I d rather he use the character name since I just watched the film and those are the names used in them But this is a nitpick Overall this is recommended for anyone who s the least bit interested in learningabout Kurosawa s films Except for the quote from Kurosawa that begins each chapter, this book is too much of a rehash of the plot of each of the director s films For this reason, I learned very little by reading about the films after seeing them I had hoped this book would be good since it is from a university press and in its third edition, which means some people have found value in it Moving on to look for a better book about one of my favorite directors.


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