Sunday, March 7, 2010

TCM Celebrates Akira Kurosawa

TCM (Turner Classic Movies as opposed to Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is celebrating the 100th birthday (or would be if he was still alive) of one of cinema's most brilliant directors Akira Kurosawa. What better way to celebrate than with some of the director's films as they mound their special March event 100th Anniversary Of Akira Kurosawa's Birthday. Throughout March they will be showing some of his best work.

I have always known of Kurosawa but never actually saw any of his films until my freshman year of college during one of the best/worst classes I have ever had, The History of Cinema (a story for another time). We watched 'Rashomon' and I was completely blown away. I say often that nothing humbles me more as a filmmaker than Kurosawa and that is the truth. You never feel more like an amateur than when you watch one of his films. Each frame could be taken out of the film and hung on the wall like a piece of art. That is how perfect they are. I remember the first time I watched 'Ran' there was one shot that was such perfection yet so simple that it actually got me a little emotional. And of course 'Seven Samurai' is just one of the best films ever made. Look I'll debate and concede people's opinions on movies. Afterall they are subjective. I love hearing what people think about movies. I don't need to agree with them and they don't need to agree with me. All I ask is for mutual respect. But, there are a few movies where I will not budge. And me saying that 'Seven Samurai' is literally one of the greatest achievements in the medium I stand by completely.

Kurosawa has inspired me in so many ways. Even in ways I didn't know. I even have a screenplay outline for a film called 'The Outsider' which is very much inspired by 'Yojimbo'. While no where near his mastery I had some Kurosawa-esque shots in my film 'Distortion'. Some intentional while others just happened. One I did do on purpose was a specific close up. Kurosawa had an ingenius way of doing the two person close up. While I couldn't find an exact example here are two similar examples of how he would do them followed by the still from my film.

From 'Rashomon':

From 'Yojimbo':

From my film 'Distortion':

If you've never seen any of his films then be sure to catch at least one of them on TCM during their tribute this month. They may be a lot to take in on initial viewings but they stay with you. The genius of Akira Kurosawa is one that will never be forgotten. His birthday would have been on March 23. Happy Birthday, Mr. Kurosawa. Thank you for your legacy and for your inspiration.

1 comment:

Miranda Angelic said...

I am sad to say I have never seen one of his films, although I have heard of him and his work. I will definitely have to check the schedule and watch one!