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Teen Movie Critic

Feb. 5, 1996

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Kurosawa is the most well-known and most influential Japanese director in the West. Born on March 23, 1910, in Omori, Tokyo, he first came to international attention with the critically acclaimed Rashomon (1950). Possibly because of his experiences in two devastations (the Kanto earthquake of 1923 and WWII), most of his films focus on chaotic events, such as the fall of an empire in Ran, or the civil war era of Seven Samurai. After Rashomon, he made many interesting films. Among them, Seven Samurai (1954), one of his most popular ones, The Hidden Fortress (1958), an influence for George Lucas' Star Wars and Yojimbo (1961), an influence of Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns. He has also made two versions of Shakespeare's plays. Throne of Blood (1957), based on MacBeth, and Ran (1985), a large version of King Lear. Ran was Kurosawa's and Japan's most expensive film ever, yet is one of the best versions of Shakespeare plays ever put on screen.

As Kurosawa entered his 80th year, his films took on more deeply moralistic themes. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams was an episodic film, following eight stories, that are bound by the theme of Humanity's destruction of nature. Rhapsody in August was Kurosawa's attempt to find piece in the painful memories of the bombing of Nagasaki. Kurosawa is a master of visual and poetic art in cinema. He portrays Japan of the past as a brutal society full of destructive rulers, warlords and warriors. He portrays present Japan as a society that is rapidly changing from the old, simplistic ways of doing things, to a more modern technological culture.

Kurosawa's films are constantly being discovered by new generations of filmgoers and filmakers. I hope that his stories and films live on for more people, people who have not yet been born, to see and enjoy this amazing director's work. My rating on a scale of 1 to 10: 10


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