Exploring Akira Kurosawa

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Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby mwm » Fri Apr 06, 2001 12:35 pm

Hi Folks,
This is my first post so first of all I want to say hello.
My question is concerning Akira Kurosawa. I own Ran and Seven Samurai on DVD, and I've seen Rashomon on Bravo recently (love it and will buy it someday)and Kagemusha years ago (unfortunately don't remember much of it).
I'm looking for opinions on which Kurosawa films to check out next. Since foreign rentals can be hard to come by in my area I would usually order VCD's, so I don't want my money going to waste on films of his that aren't "must see". (Include Kagemusha in your list if you like, I would like to see it again. The other 3 films I mentioned I own or I will own.) Also, which are sub-par and I can wait on viewing. Anything I need to see right now???
Thanks a lot and I look forward to all of your opinions!

Peace,
Mike
mwm
 


Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby somegreatmovies » Fri Apr 06, 2001 1:23 pm

The Best Are: Stray Dog, Ikiru, Rashomon, No Regrets For Our Youth, (most, but not all of) Dreams & High and Low... Rashomon & Ikiru being the best. I don't think he ever made any bad films, though Rhapsody in August is nothing great. I would, however, spend the extra money on good video copies or DVDs, and avoid VCDs like the plague. By the way, this is coming from someone who never really dug Kurosawa to any great degree. I mean, some of his movies are great, but not always my cup of tea. You might want to get an opinion from some Kurosawa freak, too.
somegreatmovies
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby somegreatmovies » Fri Apr 06, 2001 1:28 pm

The Best Are: Stray Dog, Ikiru, Rashomon, No Regrets For Our Youth, (most, but not all of) Dreams & High and Low... Rashomon & Ikiru being the best. I don't think he ever made any bad films, though Rhapsody in August is nothing great. I would, however, spend the extra money on good video copies or DVDs, and avoid VCDs like the plague. By the way, this is coming from someone who never really dug Kurosawa to any great degree. I mean, some of his movies are great, but not always my cup of tea. You might want to get an opinion from some Kurosawa freak, too.
somegreatmovies
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby maya » Fri Apr 06, 2001 4:28 pm

WOW! I highly recommend "IKIRU" it is one of my all time favorites. A total gem.
maya
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby firetree65 » Fri Apr 06, 2001 4:59 pm

I'm not really a Kurosawa freak but I've seen almost all of Kurosawas films and although most of them are depressing, there is always a redemption of the human spirit that makes them tolerable notably "Rashomon". Of course, no one can deny that every Kurosawa shot is a great artistic canvass. The only film of his that for me was difficult to swallow was "Do-des-kaden", his first color feature. The film is overwhelmingly depressing, cynical and highly disturbing but not to the effect that Tarkovky's films like "Stalker" & "Andrei Rublev" made me ponder, relish and digest its message. I can always enumerate the merits of the film's artistry and thus enjoy it on a different level but substance weighs a great deal for me. I wonder how others perceive this film?
firetree65
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby acquarello » Sat Apr 07, 2001 9:33 am

Since you have a DVD player, I'll just list some of the films that are available in that format:

"Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro" have a similar feel to "The Seven Samurai", and is a good bet if you like his feudal/samurai films.

"Dersu Uzala" is an odd film for Kurosawa, since it is a Russian co-production, but is one of my favorite Kurosawa films about an aging aboriginal hunter who guides a Russian survey troop through the Siberian wilderness.

"High and Low" is a great film noir story. My only caution is that on some early generation JVC and Panasonic players (A110, Palm Theater), the RSDL switching seems to wreak havoc on the players, and won't play (or freezes). No problem on Sony players though.

"Hidden Fortress" is coming to DVD on May 22, and was the inspiration for "Star Wars".

Several of his great films are available on Hong Kong (non region coded DVDs), including "Ikiru", "Red Beard" (flipper), and "Rashomon". Avoid "Record of a Living Being", which has this odd strobing effect in a few scenes.

"Madadayo" recently came out, but I think it is best reserved for loyal Kurosawa fans, rather than a good introduction to his body of work.

acquarello
acquarello
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby mwm » Sat Apr 07, 2001 10:36 am

Great suggestions, thanks to everyone -- keep them coming!
I was also wondering if anyone has ever seen "Throne of Blood"? I noticed it was a "transportation of Shakespeare's MacBeth to medieval Japan"(IMDB) which sounds interesting to me. As far as I know it's not available on DVD, unless it's available in HK or Japan. Is it worth pursuing?
mwm
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby katsuben » Wed Apr 11, 2001 12:46 am

I'm quite a big fan of 'Drunken Angel'. Toshiro is even better as a slick, albeit unhealthy, gangster than as a samurai. The narrative flaws of the film disturb me not. It is rendered more beautifully than a lot of Kurosawa's supposedly more visually pleasing works. But, really, if you're into Kurosawa you should certainly check out Mizoguchi and Ozu, both far greater formal filmmakers than Kurosawa, who always placed content first. A little bit of Seijun Suzuki wouldn't go astray, either.
katsuben
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby acquarello » Wed Apr 11, 2001 9:56 am

"Throne of Blood" reminds me a lot of "Ran" (probably because they are both Shakesperian adaptation). This was especially true in the siege part, where there is a flurry of arrows being shot. This is definitely one of Kurosawa's better films, and if you're at all into his epic films, then this is a must see.

By the way, there is a HK DVD (from Mei-Ah) of this film, which is supposed to be similar to the Criterion LD release.

acquarello
acquarello
 

Re: Exploring Akira Kurosawa

Postby aguirre » Fri Apr 13, 2001 12:02 am

Hey acquarello, you've really got me interested in purchasing some HK copies of "Ikiru" and Redbeard". Can you recommend a reliable website that sells HK DVDs? Also, do Mei-Ah discs offer clean transfers? Thanks!
aguirre
 

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