Akira Kurosawa

Based on five of the movies by Akira Kurosawa, each curator has selected a film to analyze. The catalogue will be divided into virtually five parts, by each curator’s film, with three sub-topics evaluated within each film: class differences, heroism, and dynamic camera movement, or the visual aesthetics presented by Kurosawa’s cinematic perspective. Joshua Ballas will be covering The Seven Samurai, Maria Uribe will be analyzing Rashomon, Jennifer Jones will study Ikiru, Jenna Tagliapietra will discuss Ran, and Alana Ward will evaluate Yojimbo.

The catalogue will simply start with an overview of Akira Kurosawa and move into the first film that is to be discussed. The curator will explain the meaning and importance of class differences through scenes where social class is recognized by clothing, gestures, or any signs noticeable. Heroism will also be defined within each film and its importance; Akira Kurosawa illustrates heroism differently in each film and these differences will be brought to attention. One of the major sub-topics is the distinguished camera movement throughout each film. The style reflected upon his film will be picked about and justified closely with many interesting shots. If his style or pattern in camera movements vary among the five selected films, the differences and reasons may be brought up for discussion as well.

Our exhibit addresses the director Akira Kurosawa and a few of his films’ common themes. We chose this topic first by agreeing that we all enjoyed Ikiru and wanted to look into Kurosawa’s work with a more in-depth investigation. Kurosawa’s films demonstrate common thematic and technical characteristics, so we decided our exhibit will showcase these characteristics. We each picked one Kurosawa film that we will focus on, and we will address the same three themes as they pertain to our particular films: heroism, class differences, and camera movement.

In regards to our future exhibit of selected films by Akira Kurosawa, it is important for us to consider the following questions when compiling our research: “Why is this an important topic to address?” and “What has already been said about this topic?” After all, Kurosawa’s own journey is interesting to trace through his films, including the international fame he gained after releasing Rashomon, the shift to melancholic drama in Ikiru, the dynamics pertaining to his filmmaking and attention to historical detail executed in The Seven Samurai, introducing one of cinema’s first anti-heroes through unexpected dark comedy in Yojimbo, and the foreign financing he had to secure in order to film Ran. Through the trials and tribulations that occupied his life—and filmmaking career—Kurosawa has become more revered outside of his native country of Japan than his contemporaries, from the “most Japanese of all Japan’s filmmakers,” Yasujiro Ozu, and the experimental methodologies filmed by Kenji Mizoguchi’s exhaustive career.

As to why this topic is important, the answer is quite simple: Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest film directors of all time. Every subsequent evaluation of a great artist’s works has the potential to shed some significant light on the subject; our exhibit shall be an insightful homage to some of Kurosawa’s most notable and seminal filmic works. The films of Kurosawa have inspired such other great film directors from Federico Fellini to Martin Scorsese, and along with the films of Ingmar Bergman and the French New Wave, had a strong influence on the New Hollywood movement, a time in cinema when explicit images of sex and violence were introduced to the United States in the 1970’s, arguably the greatest time period for American cinema. The films by Kurosawa will continue to be studied and enjoyed by every following generation that is seriously engaged in the realm of cinema.

Countless books, documentaries, and productive conversations have been devoted to the subject of Kurosawa’s films. Numerous film theorists have expounded upon Kurosawa’s innovation for a lack of definitive truth that he introduced in 1951’s Rashomon. His films provide cinematic contradictions to his audiences that in turn, spark interest and debate within their viewers, characteristics that aid in molding artistic masterpieces. Indeed, much has been said about the works of Kurosawa and this can even be seen in other films whose filmmakers have been greatly impacted by his methods; John Sturges’s The Magnificent Seven and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars are popular examples.

As a group, we hope visitors are able to look at the films we have chosen by Kurosawa in a different perspective than they had before. We would like to show the visitors three aspects of Kurosawa’s films and explain why they play such a big part in them. The visitors will look at the catalogue and the three topics we have chosen regarding Kurosawa’s films, thus allowing them to look deeper into his films and really analyze the different social classes brought up in the five films, the heroism present, and also the unique camera movements used.

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One thought on “Akira Kurosawa

  1. Pingback: Akira Kurosawa | That Dark Alley: Your location for Sleepless Critics and Questing Through The Mediums.

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