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Howdy from Western Canada!


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    Hi there,

    So I’m a 30 something American who has been living in western Canada for almost 16 years. I’ve always been in awe of the Japanese culture, and truly fell in love with it when I was in high school. I can’t count the number of times I’d watched the Shogun mini series! But, alas, I never got into Kurosawa’s films. Maybe no one recommended them, or they were just not possible to get at the library or video store, but nevertheless Shogun was it, but thankfully it was also my first intro to Mifune who, 18 years later, would become one of my favorite actors of all time.

    In the last few months, I’ve plowed through a pretty decent run of classic films, primarily Kurosawa.

    And I’m mostly list as a reminder for me, too… Posting it anywhere else would just get me an eye raise, I hope you all don’t mind.

    • Yojimbo (which, honestly, is not just my favorite Kurosawa film, but ranks up in my top films of all time)
    • Sanjuro
    • Seven Samurai (really, this is almost a no brainer)
    • Ran
    • Ikiru
    • Stray Dog
    • Rashomon
    • Kagemusha (I’m sadly only half through it.), Drunken Angel (another one I’m still about 3/4 through)
    • Red Beard,
    • The Throne of Blood (sadly I wasn’t enamored by this one like the rest of the world seems to be)
    • High and Low (probably my 3rd favorite Kurosawa film, another one that’s beyond brilliant)
    • The Hidden Fortress (this has to be tied with Seven Samurai in all out awesomeness. It’s fun, it’s goofy, it’s brilliant and there are so many characters here that Lucas copied to Star Wars. It’s a movie I can watch over and over again).

    Anyway, I attribute my path down classic cinema to Kurosawa’s films. It has opened me up to so many things, words can’t describe it.

    I look forward to perusing the forums to soak up all the Kurosawa I can!



    Vili Maunula

    Hi Nick / andsoitgoes, and a warm welcome to the group!

    That’s a nice list of films. 🙂 It’s always great to hear how people get into Kurosawa, and what they find interesting about him. I’m also slightly jealous of you since you still have a number of excellent films to discover. Although you have clearly made some background research, as the films you listed probably are the best ones to start with!

    I hope that you can join us in our film club this month — we are discussing The Lower Depths, a big favourite for a number of us.

    I don’t think that I have ever seen the Shogun TV series. I have been meaning to watch it though, as I have read the book on which it was based at least four, maybe five times. I haven’t touched it for a long time, but it was one of my favourite novels when growing up. I particularly remember this one winter break from school when I did basically nothing else than read the (over 1000 page) novel while drinking mint tea and listening to Prince’s album Graffiti Bridge. Even today, just thinking about the book makes me want to put that CD on and boil some mint tea! 😆

    By the way, it’s interesting that you managed to create an html list here. I thought that I had disabled that feature, although I don’t know why. But at least clearly the layout isn’t really ready to handle it! 😆 I need to add this to the list of thing to fix here when I find the time — but I’ve been meaning to do the next “big update” now for almost two years, and I never seem to be able to sit down for it…

    Anyway, once again, welcome!



    Thank you so much, Vili! I presumed you were either the site creator here, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

    The Lower Depths was right near the top of my list, and I might just make that a goal tomorrow after I finish Kagemusha! It’s been too long and while I’m dying to see Samsara, it will just have to wait a bit longer.

    On another odd topic, which I’m reminded of as I was initially planning to watch Samsara tonight before bed, I saw a film that is truly odd, but brilliant in ways I cannot put into words. It’s an animated short titled “it’s such a beautiful day” by animator Don Hertzfeldt. It’s the culmination of about 6 years of work creating 3 separate 20 minute shorts, the 3rd and final was released this year, and he combined them together as they’re part of a concurrent story. Hertzfeldt is my age, and was initially known for his terribly odd and darkly funny animated shorts. He’s incredibly popular in the indie art circle, and is best know for Rejected (2000) which got him nominated for an Oscar. I remember seeing it at a cartoon festival, Spike and Mike’s twisted something back then, and I fell in love with his work. The current film is so different from all he has done before and I urge you to check it out, the 3 parts get progressively more complex as they go on, and they’re not the most accessible things, but the reason he gets so much acclaim is because, well, he’s really brilliant. Don’t read too much about it though, I hadn’t followed his work in years, so I got to go Into it completely blank, and I think it paid off more by doing that.

    ANWAY, sorry. Back on topic!

    I think going into Shogun, it is hard to not see it and think “my, what Kurosawa could have done with this!” as it’s a bit broad, if that’s the right way to describe it. Loud and VERY 1980s, as well. But regardless of anything, it stars Mifune and a very young and slightly pre-Raiders Jobn Rhys-Davies (who I swear could read an Internet privacy policy over and over and I’d never get tired of listening to it!) who have such an electric presence. And Mifune, well he is Mifune. I think it’s a worthy way to follow up the book, and due to your distance from not having read the book in so long, your palate will be clean enough to not sense the disturbances in the force between the two. I always find the only ways to enjoy Book to Movie adaptations are to either watch the film first, or leave a good few years between when you finished the book and when you put the film on.

    I’m glad you did still have the ability to create a list. I love bulleted lists, and was quite surprised (and happy) to see it actually worked. If all else failed, I am armed with my trusty asterix!

    Do you know what board system you’re moving to? Many of the new BB systems allow saving of drafts you’re writing, plus of course there is the email notification which I’m partial to, my memory is terrifically terrible!

    Anyway, thanks again for the welcome. I need to get to bed, so that I can make it through watching anything tomorrow!




    Welcome here, Nick.

    <off topic>

    Does your user name have anything to do with Kurt Vonnegut…?

    </off topic>

    Kind regards,



    Vili Maunula

    This Don Hertzfeldt guy sounds quite interesting. Must remember to check him out when I get the time!

    The forum runs on a rather outdated standalone version of bbPress, which has been customised and integrated into WordPress, which I use as the CMS. I am not planning to leave these two, but would be using newer versions of both. The problem is that updating from the current versions to the newest ones is a little trickier than one would hope, as the current bbPress has little to do with the one we are using.

    Partly it’s also my own fault, as some of the customizations that I have are not really update-friendly, as I didn’t anticipate bbPress changing so radically.

    Saving drafts is pretty much at the top of my feature request list, but I don’t think that bbPress supports it yet. It would be great, though.

    As for email notifications, I am not sure how I want to deal with those in the future. In theory they are nice, but in reality they cause a bit of headache with the server and spam filters and such. It’s still something that I need to think about. Maybe I’ll find a third party service for that. As for now, everything here is RSS feed friendly (see for instance the feeds in the top bar), in case that helps any.

    Anyway, at least your bullet list should look better now. 😉

    Fred: Does your user name have anything to do with Kurt Vonnegut…?

    Ah, so that’s why it was so familiar!

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