― Anthony (Anthony F), Monday, 7 July 2003 02:36 (eighteen years ago) link
(haven't seen Ikiru, or the Hidden Fortress, or Dodeskedan, or a bunch of others)
Basically, I think the Seven Samurai and Yojimbo are total complete undeniable classics, the two Shakespeare films rank with the best Shakespeare ever, High and Low and Kagemusha are good genre exercises, and Dreams has two really nice episodes that I can remember along with a lot of filler.
― JesseFox (JesseFox), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 02:26 (eighteen years ago) link
― JesseFox (JesseFox), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 02:27 (eighteen years ago) link
― oops (Oops), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 04:09 (eighteen years ago) link
Erm, what? Rashomon, if anything, is a timeless story. Wasn't there even an American remake a couple of years ago? Anyway, here's my ranking...
1)Rashomon2)Red Beard3)The Seven Samurai4)Ikiru5)Ran6)Kagemusha
Red Beard seems to be a forgotten gem, it's one of the most humane and heartfelt films I've ever seen.
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 08:05 (eighteen years ago) link
― JesseFox (JesseFox), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 17:49 (eighteen years ago) link
― Leee (Leee), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 21:27 (eighteen years ago) link
― Sommermute (Wintermute), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 21:48 (eighteen years ago) link
― Anthony (Anthony F), Thursday, 10 July 2003 03:57 (eighteen years ago) link
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Thursday, 10 July 2003 08:02 (eighteen years ago) link
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Thursday, 10 July 2003 08:06 (eighteen years ago) link
I have a soft spot for Throne of Blood. It takes ages to get going (though you could argue this is typical for him), and it seems dull, but all the while he's gradually adding to the set-up. Then in the last 15 minutes or so you get the hand-washing into the walking forest into the death scene, all executed more crisply, if more prosaically, than in Shakespeare. Three of Kurosawa's four greatest moments (though Mifune raising the banner in Seven Samurai may be the greatest of them all) means best Japanese film before Princess Mononoke.
― b.R.A.d. (Brad), Thursday, 10 July 2003 10:28 (eighteen years ago) link
― Leee (Leee), Friday, 11 July 2003 21:14 (eighteen years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 17 September 2005 02:39 (sixteen years ago) link
― J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 17 September 2005 04:10 (sixteen years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 17 September 2005 16:03 (sixteen years ago) link
― k/l (Ken L), Saturday, 17 September 2005 23:33 (sixteen years ago) link
I wonder sometimes why this board is so dead, but then I look above and see three people actually maligning Yojimbo. Amazing.
I just saw one of his lesser known/praised films, The Bad Sleep Well (1960). Kurosawa made it right before Yojimbo - it was the first movie to come out of his own indepedent studio. It's pretty good - a loose remaking of Hamlet to attack government and corporate corruption in modern postwar Japan. Kind of similar to what he did with High and Low Anyone else see it?
Also I am interested in seeing more of his movies, but there's a LOT to choose from. Especially from the '40s. He hasn't disappointed me yet, though. What do you think are the best ones (outside of Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, and Throne of Blood)?
― Nhex, Sunday, 14 September 2008 05:10 (thirteen years ago) link
I'd rate Ikiru highly. The story, one man pushing for his small community improvement in his last days, lingers in the memory.
Bought a 2 volume pirated set off eBay, which I now see is selling as 20 DVDs for 17 films. Eventually, will get around to seeing the ones (Red Blood, Throne of Blood) I haven't watched yet. Warning, though - the auction says the versions are legit, but Rashomon looks like it was filmed off a projection.
― scampering alpaca, Monday, 15 September 2008 17:55 (thirteen years ago) link
Cool, I'll probably check out Ikiru and maybe Stray Dog sometime soon.
― Nhex, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 21:25 (thirteen years ago) link
here's how i'd rank what i've seen. I can remember one incredible shot from The Bad Sleep Well (headlights illuminating an actor on a darkened street) but otherwise it's rather slow and uninspired, especially given the source material. The Stray Dog plot is promising (inspiration for John C. Reilly's cop in Magnolia??) but otherwise insignificant. it's been a few years, however.
Great:High and LowThrone of BloodSeven SamuraiYojimboSanjuro
Fine:Stray DogIkiruThe Bad Sleep Well
i need to see Ran, Hidden Fortress and Rashomon (and everything, really), but i'm most interested in Red Beard. it's one of Bill Murray's favorite movies.
― poortheatre, Friday, 19 September 2008 21:09 (thirteen years ago) link
re: Throne of Blood, I don't think I've seen a better Shakespeare film.
― poortheatre, Friday, 19 September 2008 21:11 (thirteen years ago) link
Good:High and Low (thinks the audience is a bunch of idiots, e.g. not only showing the family's house on the top of the hill, but also having characters mention it and then opining on how it could cause people to dislike them. still, the caper stuff in enthralling.)The Hidden Fortress YojimboSanjuro
Bad:Rashômon (only ruined by the ending, where the main character says "everyone is a liar!" like that's supposed to be the message)The Bad Sleep Well (turns hamlet into a straight revenge fantasy; the ending anticipates hollywood's current "corporations are omnipotent evil" schlock)Red Beard (zzzz)Kagemusha (some interesting scenes, but it overcompensates against kurosawa's usual stating of the obvious by not having any point at all)Ikiru (oprah book club)
barely remember: Throne of Blood, Ran, Seven Samurai
― abanana, Saturday, 20 September 2008 03:17 (thirteen years ago) link
"Rashômon (only ruined by the ending, where the main character says "everyone is a liar!" like that's supposed to be the message)"
That's not the message?
― Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 19:29 (thirteen years ago) link
Stray Dog is good, but I don't find it great, except for the last faceoff btwn Mifune and the killer, with a post-orgasmic tableau.
― Rage, Resentment, Spleen (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 January 2010 20:29 (twelve years ago) link
Today is his centennial.
― Fusty Moralizer (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 23 March 2010 12:03 (eleven years ago) link
just watched red beard. this opening line from someone's netflix review is pretty classic:
Red Beard teaches us that even samurai need health care reform.
― original bgm, Monday, 12 July 2010 19:55 (eleven years ago) link
I love Red Beard. It's my favorite Kurosawa, snd way more gripping than any plot summary makes it sound. Whoever said "zzzz" upthread... ????
― Cherish, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 16:37 (eleven years ago) link
2. don't like at all
― moullet, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 16:39 (eleven years ago) link
i live in fearthe bad sleep wellhidden fortressikirustray dogseven samuraiyojimbothrone of bloodran
― la russe, Monday, 9 August 2010 02:54 (eleven years ago) link
the 12 I've seen...
1. Seven Samurai2. Ran3. Dersu Uzala4. Yojimbo5. Dreams6. Ikiru7. Rashomon8. Kagemusha 9. Rhapsody in August10. The Hidden Fortress11. High and Low12. Sanjuro
― Matt Armstrong, Thursday, 12 August 2010 07:34 (eleven years ago) link
kurosawa fest at pacific film archive in berkeley this summer is killing it. saw high and low last week... definitely seeing kagemusha and madadayo... i should probably go for ran as well. love this man.
― hobbes, Thursday, 12 August 2010 07:44 (eleven years ago) link
bummed i missed ikiru.. good screen at pfa
wish i had $$$ to see every film at this fest, tbh
― hobbes, Thursday, 12 August 2010 07:45 (eleven years ago) link
How many films are they showing? It's coming to my town in the fall.
― Your cousin, Marvin Cobain (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 12 August 2010 19:53 (eleven years ago) link
Haven't seen them all but The Bad Sleep Well and Throne of Blood would be high in all-time film lists. Throne of Blood possibly top three.
― Hide the prickforks (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 12 August 2010 20:15 (eleven years ago) link
Just got done w/Madadayo and am very pleased. A terrific last effort, maybe one of the best swan songs ever.
― Your cousin, Marvin Cobain (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 10 January 2011 04:03 (eleven years ago) link
I've a choice between Red Beard and Dersu Uzala. Which one and why?
― Hey Look More Than Five Years Has Passed And You Have A C (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 14 April 2011 12:49 (ten years ago) link
also, two years late, but i'd go with red beard y because more nudity
― Strangers look on with a discernible, barely contained ‘wow’. (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 31 December 2013 19:46 (eight years ago) link
how's I Live in Fear?
― guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 6 May 2014 18:18 (seven years ago) link
I would say it's unforgettable, except I don't recall if I've seen it. Yes if it's the one where Mifune plays much older than he was.
― images of war violence and historical smoking (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 6 May 2014 20:07 (seven years ago) link
It is. I got the one starring Setsuko Hara instead.
― guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 6 May 2014 20:52 (seven years ago) link
I wasn't bowled over but it's worth seeing for Mifune acting totally wracked and frazzled for 2 hours. I feel it has a lot to say about life,death,society and all that but I'm not intellectually equipped to totally get it.
― brimstead, Wednesday, 7 May 2014 18:40 (seven years ago) link
Akira Kurosawa's seminal classic Seven Samurai gets the remake treatment with this modern retelling from The Weinstein Co. Scott Mann directs from a script by John Fusco.
Probably be as shit as the awful Tarkovsky remake with Clonney and it will be 90 mins of linear storytelling with five samurai if Harvey is involved.
― xelab, Sunday, 27 July 2014 22:15 (seven years ago) link
That remake was pretty good, actually
― Hiriam (Come And Take Me) (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 27 July 2014 22:22 (seven years ago) link
I fucking hated it tbh, eradicating all the mystery and beauty of the original and bringing in a very typically smug GC perfomance didn't work for me. I can't see this Kurosawa raping debacle being anything less than mediocre shit as well.
― xelab, Monday, 28 July 2014 23:02 (seven years ago) link
i didn't like the solaris remake but it could have been interesting, maybe. how you could remake seven samurai and not be doing something horrible is beyond me otoh.
― mattresslessness, Monday, 28 July 2014 23:12 (seven years ago) link
Unemployed ninjas protecting helpless peasants and a movie in which Toshiro Mifune is the 2nd best actor, normally I am with you all the way Matt but not on this.
― xelab, Monday, 28 July 2014 23:53 (seven years ago) link
I watched Kagemusha for the first time since 1995, a first draft for what he'd realized far better in Ran: an idea of splendor, a sense that power is ceremonial and thus ephemeral.
― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 June 2017 12:59 (four years ago) link
― brimstead, Sunday, 11 June 2017 14:16 (four years ago) link
doesn't get any better than Ikiru and High and Low imo
― flappy bird, Monday, 2 April 2018 01:45 (three years ago) link
I realized I prefer his urban dramas and Shakespeare adaptations to the samurai stuff.
― recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 March 2019 13:23 (two years ago) link
I love the samurai films but I can't argue with Red Beard as his best.
The Bad Sleep Well is also great, though having Mifune off-screen for the ending creates a strangely muted effect.
Among his lesser films, I'm a big fan of The Idiot, which is too long, too slow, and (in its second part) too incoherent, but is still the most effective film adaptation of Dostoevsky.
― Brad C., Thursday, 21 March 2019 13:38 (two years ago) link
I've been watching Kurosawa films in chronological order, so far have seen Sanshiro Sugata, Sanshiro Sugata Part Two, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, No Regrets for Our Youth, One Wonderful Sunday, and Stray Dog.
Setsuko Hara drew me into No Regrets for Our Youth the way she has in all of her films with Ozu. The other films I’ve enjoyed but haven’t loved.
― Dan S, Sunday, 25 August 2019 22:23 (two years ago) link
The films made during the war were quite propagandistic and those made slightly after were subject to American censorship. They get better. I think Stray Dog, or the one just before that, Drunken Angel, are where he starts to get good (also when he starts working with Mifune and Shimura together)
― koogs, Monday, 26 August 2019 02:03 (two years ago) link
> Rashomon, if anything, is a timeless story. Wasn't there even an American remake a couple of years ago?
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 08:05 (sixteen years ago)
The Outrage (1964), transplants everything to a western setting (a railway station, not a temple...), has Paul Newman in the Mifune role and William Shatner as the preacher. It's well worth a watch.
― koogs, Monday, 26 August 2019 02:25 (two years ago) link
xp Sanshiro Sugata 2 is pretty bad, but it's interesting as the first movie to show karate ... the contrast between the wild karate villains and the upright judoka reflects contemporary prejudice toward Okinawans and nationalist suspicions about karate being derived from Chinese martial arts.
― Brad C., Monday, 26 August 2019 02:29 (two years ago) link
Imagine my surprise when Vincent Van Gogh opens his mouth in Dreams.
― flappy bird, Monday, 26 August 2019 05:40 (two years ago) link
just watched Rashomon, I liked that the final version of the story, told by the woodcutter who is confirmed to be a liar and a thief, is both the most pitiful and humiliating and also the most believable
― Dan S, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 23:35 (two years ago) link
I tried to absorb Stray Dog, but it was refracted out
still haven't watched Drunken Angel, I see that it's on the Criterion Channel
― Dan S, Thursday, 12 September 2019 00:01 (two years ago) link
Throne of Blood was one of the films that changed the way I watch movies. It was also super influential for my personal music creation.
― Spine of Bronze, Thursday, 12 September 2019 02:19 (two years ago) link
I thought The Idiot was beautiful, more emotionally powerful than any of the other films of his I’ve seen so far. I really liked the setting of eternal winter and the portrayal of extreme empathy
― Dan S, Sunday, 29 September 2019 20:25 (two years ago) link
finally saw Drunken Angel on the Criterion Channel, it was also pretty great
― Dan S, Thursday, 3 October 2019 01:04 (two years ago) link
I need to see more of his less canonical titles. I just watched Rashomon again yesterday; what a beautiful, bottomlessly fascinating movie.
― Maria Edgelord (cryptosicko), Thursday, 3 October 2019 01:17 (two years ago) link
not sure exactly why but I didn't love Ikiru
― Dan S, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 01:24 (two years ago) link
will come back to it
Seven Samurai is really long but has a lot of memorable characters, and Toshiro Mifune’s comic wild man performance is a large part of what keeps the film interesting
― Dan S, Sunday, 27 October 2019 05:26 (two years ago) link
> Toshiro Mifune’s comic wild man performance is a large part of what keeps the film interesting
that's probably the opposite of what i think.
― koogs, Monday, 28 October 2019 11:48 (two years ago) link
I Live in Fear wasn't all that compelling
― Dan S, Sunday, 3 November 2019 03:04 (two years ago) link
I did like the final scene in the asylum stairway with Nakajima's daughter and Dr. Harada passing each other, it seemed very potent
― Dan S, Monday, 4 November 2019 00:30 (two years ago) link
I remember liking that one and some knowledgeable friend of mine describing the lead perform as “tightly coiled,” although it’s been awhile.
― Ferlinghetti Hvorostovsky (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 4 November 2019 01:18 (two years ago) link
Throne of Blood did have some of the best ever Kurosawa scenes at its end, but the most indelible scene for me was near the beginning, the prophesying spirit in the forest with the weaving spool.
I know it’s an adaptation of Shakespeare, but it also seems very connected to Seven Samurai in portraying the tension between collectivism and individualism
― Dan S, Saturday, 9 November 2019 01:20 (two years ago) link
seeing The Lower Depths (1957, based on a Gorky play) made me wonder if it was an influence for Kore-eda’s Shoplifters
― Dan S, Friday, 15 November 2019 01:36 (two years ago) link
there are some really great scenes in The Hidden Fortress - the prisoner uprising, the spear fight, the bonfire especially
I didn’t realize it was an influence on Lucas for Star Wars, including the telling of the story from the point of view of the lowliest characters
― Dan S, Wednesday, 20 November 2019 02:53 (two years ago) link
The Bad Sleep Well is relentless and grim, even for Kurosawa
― Dan S, Saturday, 23 November 2019 02:01 (two years ago) link
it doesn’t seem at all interested in supplying a satisfying ending, which I like about it
― Dan S, Saturday, 23 November 2019 02:17 (two years ago) link
Yojimbo is another really good samurai film, and is different from his previous ones with its frontier town Western quality
― Dan S, Thursday, 12 December 2019 02:34 (two years ago) link
it's based on the classic hammett book Red Harvest and it really shows its source material
― Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 12 December 2019 02:43 (two years ago) link
Watched Stray Dog last week and I loved loved LOVED it - it's so good simply in basic film-making terms (blocking, editing, show don't tell), and the gritty noir vibe and denouement felt timeless. But I'm a Mifune tragic so I guess I was going to like it.
― an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 12 December 2019 03:32 (two years ago) link
I need to see it again! I've been immersed in Kurosawa but he made so many films that it's really hard to absorb them all
― Dan S, Thursday, 12 December 2019 04:00 (two years ago) link
it's hard to pick a favorite Mifune performance, but I think he was really good in Yojimbo
― Dan S, Thursday, 12 December 2019 04:17 (two years ago) link
Throne of Blood for me
― Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 12 December 2019 05:09 (two years ago) link
saw Red Beard for the first time and thought it was fantastic, such a humane story and memorable Toshirô Mifune role
it has been really interesting to watch Kurosawa’s films in order and see the evolution of Mifune’s performances
― Dan S, Thursday, 2 January 2020 01:47 (two years ago) link
Dodes’ka-den is not the most interesting of Kurosawa’s films narratively, but its style is fascinating. It feels like a real break from his previous work
― Dan S, Saturday, 11 January 2020 23:51 (two years ago) link
it was his first color film, with brightly painted surfaces reminiscent of Red Desert. Also it had his first use of zoom lenses and cycloramas
― Dan S, Friday, 17 January 2020 01:43 (two years ago) link
the stylization of it kind of overwhelmed his previous social realism
― Dan S, Friday, 17 January 2020 02:32 (two years ago) link
Dersu Uzala is another really great Kurosawa film.
Gary Arnold in the WP in 1978 had a very dismissive review of it as “a pastoral epic about the inherent superiority of a man who lives alone and in harmony with nature” which “reflects a decline in dramatic power and a doting, futile taste in sentimental hero-worship.”
I don’t think that describes it at all. The kindness of it reminds me of Red Beard, and it has a lot to say about our current disrespect for other people and our disregard for the environment.
― Dan S, Tuesday, 21 January 2020 00:38 (one year ago) link