Welcome to Akira Kurosawa info!  Log in or Register?

On Sets

I am often accused of being too exacting with sets and properties, of having things made, just for the sake of authenticity, that will never appear on camera. Even if I don’t request this, my crew does it for me anyway. The first Japanese director to demand authentic sets and props was Mizoguchi Kenji, and the sets in his films are truly superb. I learned a great deal about filmmaking from him, and the sets is among the most important. The quality of the set influences the quality of the actors’ performances. If the plan of a house and the design of the rooms are done properly, the actors can move about in them naturally. If I have to tell an actor, “Don’t think about where this room is in relation to the rest of the house,” that natural ease cannot be achieved. For this reason, I have sets made exactly like the real thing. It restricts the shooting, but encourages that feeling of authenticity.’1

The task of the lighting technicians is an extremely creative one. A really good lighting man has his own plan, though he of course still needs to discuss it with the cameraman and the director. But if he does not put forth his own concept, his job becomes nothing more than lightning up the whole frame. I think, for example, that the current method of lightning for color film is wrong. In order to bring out the colors, the entire frame is flooded with light. I always say the lightning should be treated as it is for black-and-white film, whether the colors are strong or not, so that the shadows come out right.’1

Sources:

1 These notes were published by Toho Company Ltd. in 1975 as advice to young people considering a career in filmmaking. They are taken from: Kurosawa, Akira. Something Like an Autobiography. Translated by audie E. Bock. Vintage Books, 1983.

2 These are taken from: Kurosawa, Akira. Something Like an Autobiography. Translated by audie E. Bock. Vintage Books, 1983.

3 These notes are taken from: Richie, Donald. The Films of Akira Kurosawa. University of California Press, 1996.