Those who will be hearing of Akira Kurosawa for the first time would probably think he is a Japanese figure straight out from a samurai video game. Fitting enough, given this man’s association with samurai-themed films.
But don't be mistaken. As cineastes know like the back of their hands, Akira Kurosawa is the prolific and multi-awarded director, producer, and screenwriter made famous for his work in the 1950 film Rashomon and a slew of classic Japanese masterpieces.
Either way, both Kurosawa virgins and seasoned fans are bound to be better acquainted with his film genius as the Kurosawa Film Festival hits Manila starting today, September 15.
His films will be shown at Cultural Center of the Philippines and then, at the UP Film Institute this September. The good news is the Kurosawa Film Festival has a free admission, courtesy of the Japan Foundation Manila.
Kurosawa films lined up for this festival will also be shown in its original 35mm format, just so we can screen his works ala-film critic.
With over 30 films in his repertoire in a span of 57 years, it’s a mystery how most of us are hearing about him only today. (Know more about five of his greatest films in the gallery below.)
Here is, therefore, a brief education on the man Asian Week once dubbed as the “Asian of the Century”.
Who is Akira Kurosawa?
The legendary filmmaker first entered the film industry in 1936 after failing to find success as a painter. He was first an assistant director and scriptwriter, but eventually debuted as director in the 1943 film Sanshiro Sugata (Judo Saga).
He would hit the industry jackpot when his films Drunken Angel (1948) and Rashomon (1950) garnered critics’ approval and multiple international awards. He would go on to direct more acclaimed films, including Stray Dog, Throne of Blood, and I Live in Fear.
Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress even once inspired a then-young director George Lucas to make Star Wars. Hollywood hotshots Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Copolla, and Lucas are all Kurosawa fans.
He also happens to be quite the character: At one point he defied the demands of the film industry thereby thought of as mentally-ill by American producers.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO