Tag Archive: films

A Month of Kurosawa: Dersu Uzala (1975)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Dersu Uzala (1975) During a period in his career when Kurosawa had fallen out of favor and was no longer the influential icon he once was, he found himself deep in the Soviet Union making a film about nature, survival, civilization, and friendship. That film was Dersu Uzala, based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Vladimir Arsenyev. It’s also one of his…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Dodes’ka-Den (1970)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Dodes’ka-Den (1970) By the late 1960s, Akira Kurosawa’s career had somewhat skidded off the rails. The situation is too complex with these quickie capsule reviews, but the bottom line is that Toshiro Mifune was out of the picture, Kurosawa was increasingly seen as behind the times, and the director struggled to get funding for his films. That’s the situation in which he made Dodes’ka-Den,…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Red Beard (1965)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Red Beard (1965) There has perhaps never been a film partnership as fruitful as the one between Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune. They made a string of classics together, helping launch one another into international stardom and into the annals of film history. But due to a personal falling out, Red Beard would be their last film together. Though not beloved by critics, I…
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A Month of Kurosawa: High and Low (1963)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! High and Low (1963) From the very start of his career, Akira Kurosawa was concerned with exploring the class divide, delving into the things that separates the wealthy from the poor. He had perhaps never explored this idea so nakedly as he did in High and Low, called Heaven and Hell in Japan, a film split in two just as the society it depicts…
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A Month of Kurosawa: Sanjuro (1962)

To celebrate the upcoming release of my book, Akira Kurosawa: A Viewer’s Guide, due out Dec. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield — preorder here! — I’ll be doing capsule reviews all month covering every single Kurosawa film and posting (very) brief excerpts. These will be short impressions and recommendations, nothing more. For a full, detailed analysis of each, grab the book! Sanjuro (1962) It’s interesting that a film best known for its bloody final duel (a scene that proved highly influential to directors like Quentin Tarantino) and a sequel to the often violent Yojimbo is in reality a meditation on non-violence. Yojimbo was such a huge success that Kurosawa got right to work on a sequel. Sanjuro follows the titular character on another western-like adventure,…
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