A+ List: Ikiru; also a Blu-ray review

A bureaucrat, emotionally dead and cut-off from both his job and his family, discovers that he has only months to live. He has scarce time to make his empty life meaningful. He will find that meaning in Akira Kurosawa's 1952 masterpiece, Ikiru. The name translates into English as To Live. When I started this project … Continue reading A+ List: Ikiru; also a Blu-ray review

Kurosawa has fun: My Blu-ray review of Hidden Fortress

In Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa used the samurai genre to examine the limits of human knowledge and objectivity. In Seven Samurai, he told an epic story of small-scale war and a feudal system in crisis. In Throne of Blood, he adapted Macbeth to meditate on fate. In The Hidden Fortress, he pretty much just had fun. … Continue reading Kurosawa has fun: My Blu-ray review of Hidden Fortress

Kurosawa Diary, Part 29: Rhapsody in August

Little actually happens in Akira Kurosawa’s 29th and penultimate film, Rhapsody in August, and nothing really bad. Something horrendous happened 45 years earlier (the atom bombing of Nagasaki), but that’s ancient history. It’s time for Japan and America to forgive and, if not forget, then to honor the memory together. Six years after the devastatingly … Continue reading Kurosawa Diary, Part 29: Rhapsody in August

Kurosawa Diary, Part 28: Dreams

Warner Brothers called this film Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams when they released it in 1990. The name is appropriate, and not only because Kurosawa wrote and directed the film. The eight vignettes that make up his only anthology feature are, allegedly, based on Kurosawa’s own dreams. I was recovering from a herniated disc, and under doctor’s … Continue reading Kurosawa Diary, Part 28: Dreams

Kurosawa Diary, Part 26: Kagemusha

When I started my project of watching every Kurosawa film in the order they were made, the first question I asked myself was “Even Kagemusha?” It wasn’t that his big Coppola-and-Lucas spectacle was his worst film (it isn’t). But unlike the other bad ones I’d seen, I had revisited this one on DVD—seeing the full … Continue reading Kurosawa Diary, Part 26: Kagemusha