After finishing what would become his international phenomenon Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa immediately turned to one of the most daring, and problem-plagued, productions of his career. The Idiot, an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s nineteenth-century masterpiece about a wayward, pure soul’s reintegration into society— updated by Kurosawa to capture Japan’s postwar aimlessness—was a victim of studio interference and, finally, public indifference. Today, this “folly” looks ever more fascinating, a stylish, otherworldly evocation of one man’s wintry mindscape. —The Criterion Collection
The son of an army officer, Kurosawa studied art before gravitating to film as a means of supporting himself. He served seven years as an assistant to director Kajiro Yamamoto before he began his own directorial career with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about the 19th century struggle for supremacy between adherents of judo and jujitsu that so impressed the military government, he was prevailed upon to make a sequel (Sanshiro Sugata Part Two). Following the end of World War II, Kurosawa’s career gathered speed with a series of films that cut across all genres, from crime thrillers to period dramas. Among the latter, his Rashomon (1951) became the first postwar Japanese film to find wide favor with Western audiences. It was Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai (1954), however, that made the largest impact of any of his movies outside of Japan. Although heavily cut for its original release, this three-hour-plus medieval action drama, shot with painstaking… read more
Though obviously in ruins, the film grows on you during its running time and especially in memory. Contains some realy great scenes and electrifying atmosphere. Can't wait to revisit it.
Barely a decade after Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons was butchered by RKO, Kurosawa had a similar devestating experience at Shochiku with his Dostoyevsky adaptation. Everything about the film intrigues me: the beautiful settiing in a snowbound Hokkaido, the precision of the compositions, the theatricality of the performances, the beauty of Setsuko Hara... A magnificent folly and an unheralded, flawed masterpiece.
Let's start this one with a few things going on here at The Auteurs. Hong Sang-soo's Night and Day is currently playing at Facets in Chicago
The concept behind the box is simplicity itself, exemplified by its title: "25 Films By Akira Kurosawa." This is released in commemoration