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Films of Akira Kurosawa

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Films of Akira Kurosawa.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

In an epilogue provided for his incomparable study of Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998), Donald Richie reflects on Kurosawa's life work of thirty feature films and describes his last, unfinished project, a film set in the Edo period to be called The Ocean Was Watching.

Kurosawa remains unchallenged as one of the century's greatest film directors. Through his long and distinguished career he managed, like very few others in the teeth of a huge and relentless industry, to elevate each of his films to a distinctive level of art. His Rashomon—one of the best-remembered and most talked-of films in any language—was a revelation when it appeared in 1950 and did much to bring Japanese cinema to the world's attention. Kurosawa's films display an extraordinary breadth and an astonishing strength, from the philosophic and sexual complexity of Rashomon to the moral dedication of Ikiru, from the naked violence of Seven Samurai to the savage comedy of Yojimbo, from the terror-filled feudalism of Throne of Blood to the piercing wit of Sanjuro.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Here is a chance to read a terrific study of Kurosawa's films by the foremost critic of Japanese cinema and a man who had a personal acquaintance with the filmmaker. Newly revised and updated, this classic study now covers all of Kurosawa's films, surveying an extraordinary 50 year career. If you have any interest in Japanese cinema or in the art of movies in general, you can't go wrong viewing Kurosawa's films. Ritchie's book will guide you through them, teaching you about the man and his genius. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. This third edition of a work first published in 1965 covers the four films made since the second edition was released, including Ran, arguably Kurosawa's biggest hit in America. Kurosawa is acknowledged as one of the greatest artists of the sound era, and he is easily the best-known Japanese director to Western audiences. This book concentrates solely on the films themselves; other than a brief biographical section that ends when Kurosawa began directing and a closing analysis of his style and methods, no additional topic is covered. Each film is analyzed separately along the lines of characterization, story, camera, production, music, treatment, and so forth. Greater space is given to the masterpieces: Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Ikiru, and The Throne of Blood. Richie's expertise is hard to miss; surely he overlooks no aspect of these films. Given Kurosawa's age (he's 86) and the difficulties of financing in Japanese cinema, it is unlikely he will produce any more movies. Highly recommended for academic and film collections; public libraries should buy according to demand.?Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., BaltimoreCopyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Book details

  • PDF | 240 pages
  • University of California Press; New edition edition (May 1971)
  • English
  • 6
  • Humor & Entertainment

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Review Text

  • By Zack Davisson on April 17, 2002

    "The Films of Akira Kurosawa" is a great introduction to Kurosawa. In both physical size and length, it is an unintimidating invitation to those seeking to learn more about a director whose films they enjoy. It is the most visual of Kurosawa studies, which is nice considering that films are a visual medium. There are both candid on-set shots as well as film stills.The book is designed for browsing, and does not need to be read front to back. A reader can easily skip around to the films that they are interested in. The writing is casual, and reads easy. Too many Kurosawa books read like college texts, and Donald Richie fills a niche by supplying a book for the casual reader.The only drawback to "The Films of Akira Kurosawa" is that your interest will be sparked for many films that are not readily available. You will embark on a treasure hunt, seeking out rare gems such as "Drunken Angel," "The Bad Sleep Well" and "Throne of Blood."To add to the author's credentials, Donald Richie supplies the commentary track on the Criterion Collection DVD of "Roshomon."

  • By James J. Cremin on December 13, 2009

    The book I actually got through a third party is the Second Edition that was published in 1984, prior to when RAN was made and as Kurosawa and Mifune were still alive. However, the bulk of of Akira's films are here and at the time writing this, many of the early ones are now available to dvd. It is quite extensively researched as books of directors tend to be as opposed to actors. Once I watched most Kurosawa's films, I get very, very involved and just thank God he is acknowledged by so many film makers.

  • By Benjamin D Morgan on January 4, 2014

    Very thorough and well written review of the films of the great Kurosawa. Nice photographs, format and excellent analysis of each film.

  • By Denise Jensen on December 28, 2012

    I bought this as a gift for my husband who teaches a university course on Japanese film. He is so pleased with it. The author is the ultimate expert. Even though my husband already knew quite a lot about Kurosawa's films, this books added more.

  • By WASP on December 12, 2013

    Ordered for a class and the book helped out with several assignments and I learned so much about Kurosawa. .

  • By Roman Martel on September 3, 2008

    I was drawn to this book after hearing Mr. Richie's commentary on the DVD of "Rashomon". In many ways this book is a continuation of that type of commentary. One of the great things about the book is that Richie provides plenty of interesting observations about the actual filming and reception of Kurosawa's films; since he was present for most of them. He tackles the films from several angles including actual quotes from Kurosawa, his cast and crew. He discusses the creation of the films from pre-productions up to release, and in some cases even discusses how the films were received. Richie also delves into the themes and ideas behind each film, covering them in great detail.Richie's opinions are just that, opinions. For the most part he is pretty balanced with is approach to the films. He points out the good and bad, as he sees it in each film. He does assume you've seen the films, and while he does include a synopsis, he does refer to the films quite freely. Richie does delve into Kurosawa's successes and failures with equal skill.However Richie begins to lose steam after "Red Beard". He obviously doesn't like most of the films in the director's later period and goes to some length describing why they fail. This is a bit strange because I feel that some of the best Kurosawa (and certainly his most unique work) comes from this later period. Richie almost dismisses "Ran" as a retooling of "Kagamusha" something that I don't agree with at all. He also shrugs off "Dreams" as a summary film - and this is one of the most unique films Kurosawa attempted.This book is an interesting read for Kurosawa fans. While I don't always agree with Richie, he does make some excellent points about the themes of the films and offers some interesting stories surrounding the production and reception of the films. Definitely worth reading for a fan looking for more of Richie's take on the films of Akira Kurosawa.

  • By David J. Loftus on January 21, 2000

    My mother took me to the first Kurosawa film I can remember ("Ikiru") when I was probably about five. I was not in a position to appreciate it then, of course, but a couple of images stuck with me forever. I saw a few more Kurosawas in high school, fortunately -- the earlier, butchered "Seven Samurai," "Yojimbo," possibly one or two more -- and many others when I got to college in Boston.Kurosawa was one of the true artistic geniuses of the twentieth century. His career as a screenwriter began during the Second World War and as a director shortly after it. Despite the strange culture and often historic settings of his stories, Kurosawa is perhaps the most "Western" of Japanese film directors up to the 1970s. The plots have a clarity, and the action (Samurai sword battles, for instance) a vibrancy, that grip a viewer in a way lesser filmmakers on both sides of the Pacific cannot hope to match.His work has probably influenced more other filmmakers than any director in or out of the US. Other reviewers have named names; as to specific works, "Rashomon" was remade as "The Outrage," "Seven Samurai" turned into "The Magnificent Seven," "Yojimbo" became "A Fistful of Dollars," and "The Hidden Fortress" inspired "Star Wars." In turn, Kurosawa made films based on the plots of "Macbeth," "King Lear," Dostoevsky's "The Idiot," and Gorky's "The Lower Depths."Richie's book does this incredible writer and director's work full justice. His discussion of plotting, acting, editing technique, and all the other aspects of this great artist's work only deepen one's appreciation for what already loves on screen. I have an original hardcover copy as well as the third revised edition in paperback.


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