The Screen Daily correspondent Jason Gray writes in his blog about a Kurosawa Production press conference, according to which footage from an unfinished 1983 documentary by Kurosawa, as well as Kurosawa’s footage from Tora! Tora! Tora!, are to be released in 2010, when we mark 100 years since the birth of the director.
The 1983 documentary, shot during a production halt with Ran, is called Gendai no noo (Modern Noh), and as the name suggests deals with Noh theatre. Gray’s article (which is also available from Screen Daily) mentions that Kurosawa shot “approximately 50 minutes of performance of the play Yashima, by Zeami Motokiyo, 14th century originator of the modern form of mask-wearing, musical drama Noh”, and that the footage was donated to the National Archive following Kurosawa’s death in 1998. The plans are to add an hour of additional footage following the original script, and to release the feature in 2010.
Meanwhile, “approximately 8-12 minutes” of the footage Kurosawa shot for the Hollywood war film Tora! Tora! Tora! before famously leaving the project in 1969 have been discovered in film archives somewhere. This footage will also be released, although where it will be made available is not yet clear.
All this, and more, will be part of the “AK100 Project”, which is set to begin later this year in order to celebrate and remember Kurosawa through “exhibitions of Kurosawa’s work, newly published books and stamps, merchandise and tie-ups with TV broadcasters and video game companies”, with everything culminating in 2010, the 100th anniversary of Kurosawa’s birth.
Fairly interesting are also the words used by Hisao Kurosawa, who is quoted by the article as saying that “My hope is that people, especially younger audiences, see the work of Akira Kurosawa. This memorial will be my final act of devotion.” What, exactly, should we read a “final act of devotion” to mean?
I have not yet been able to find a transcription of the press conference, or any further articles to add to the information available from Jason Gray, but will obviously be following the situation closely.