Died Today (September 6th): Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998)

akirakurosawa.jpgAkira Kurosawa (1910–1998)

Born: March 23, 1910 in Tokyo, Japan
Died: September 6, 1998 (age 88) in Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

Married tO:
Yôko Yaguchi (21 May 1945 – 1 February 1985) (her death) (2 children)

With a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece. With the same script, a mediocre director can produce a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can’t possibly make a good film. For truly cinematic expression, the camera and the microphone must be able to cross both fire and water. The script must be something that has the power to do this.

SUGATA SANSHIROSugata Sanshiro
1943
dir. Kurosawa
Cast
Denjirô Ôkôchi
Susumu Fujita
STRAY DOGStray Dog
1949
dir. Kurosawa
starring
Toshirô Mifune
Takashi Shimura
RASHOMONRashomon
1950
dir. Akira Kurosawa
Starring
Toshirô Mifune
Machiko Kyô
IKIRUIKiru
1952
dir. Kurosawa
Starring
Takashi Shimura
Shinichi Himori
SEVEN SAMURAISeven Samurai
1954
dir. Akira Kurosawa
Starring
Takashi Shimura
Toshirô Mifune
YOJIMBOYojimbo
1961
dir. Akira Kurosawa
starring
Toshirô Mifune
Tatsuya Nakadai

Of all the director’s on this list, none except Kubrick were as skilled at as many different types of films. He’s well remembered for his samurai films, but he was just as skilled at crime stories, dramas and even comedy.

Though “The Seven Samurai” and his other samurai films are probably the most well known, his influence among filmmakers and their films was far more wide ranging, from western and adventure directors to surrealists like Fellini. Other directors on the list were as practiced in pure cinema storytelling, but no one else was quite as good at it. Besides unifying certain techniques that we take for granted now–like slow motion, weather for atmosphere, and the frequent use of long lenses–he told stories through images in a way no one else could ever quite match. Which is probably why so many different types of filmmakers have found so much to be inspired in by him.

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