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CJS’s Re-Viewing Kurosawa (09/24-11/12/10)

September 9th, 2010 · No Comments · Events

In the 1950s, Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) led Japanese cinema onto the world stage, astonishing viewers with the emotional depth and the technical adroitness of his films. On the centennial of his birth, this series provides a once-in-a-generation chance to see Kurosawa’s classics again—including his incomparable early samurai films—in fresh, new 35mm prints.

This is a free event open to the public. Films start at 7PM in Askwith Auditorium (Lorch Hall). Flyer is available here.




September 24 – Rasho–mon
1950 / 88 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
By winning first prize at the 1951 Venice Film Festival, Rasho–mon signaled the arrival of Japanese film in the West. A revisionist take on the samurai genre, of which Kurosawa was a master, this film destabilizes truth by allowing four people to retell their versions of the murder of a man and the rape of his wife.

October 1 – Ikiru
1952 / 143 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
A dying man learns how “to live” (ikiru), choosing a small act of worth that transcends the mundane preoccupations of his prior life. The jewel of Kurosawa’s humanist cinema.

October 8 – Seven Samurai
1954 / 207 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
A desperate village hires seven masterless samurai to protect itself from marauders in Kurosawa’s epic masterpiece. Hollywood remade this movie as The Magnificent Seven, but gunslinging can’t match the original’s relentless final battle in the rain.

October 15 – Throne of Blood
1957 / 109 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
Kurosawa’s savage and unrestrained adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, set in medieval Japan, plunges viewers into an eerie, fog-shrouded world of madness and obsession. This film is often considered the finest Shakespeare adaptation in the history of cinema.

October 22 – Hidden Fortress
1958 / 139 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
A general and a plucky princess, accompanied by two bumbling peasants, smuggle treasure out of hostile territory in this film. George Lucas based his initial outline of Star Wars on Kurosawa’s film.

October 29 – High and Low
1963 / 143 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
In Kurosawa’s film noir, a kidnapping goes wrong and a wealthy executive is forced to confront both his own morality and the kidnappers who think they have his son.

November 5 – Yo–jimbo
1961 / 110 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
In this dark comedy, a gang hires a masterless samurai as a yo–jimbo– or strong arm man. But the man has a mind of his own, and his wit and his sword clear a town of all gangsters, including those with the temerity to hire him.

November 12 – Sanjuro
1962 / 96 min. / 35mm / In Japanese with English subtitles.
In another comedy with swords, the masterless samurai of Yo–jimbo– returns to impose his brand of justice on a corrupt clan. In the process, he teaches a group of youngsters what it really means to be a samurai.

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