Welcome to Akira Kurosawa info!  Log in or Register?

Kurosawa, critics and reception.

  •   link

    kasipierre

    Hello !

    I’m a student in France (Culture/Political Science -well, sort of) and i’m writing a graduation paper for my fourth year about Kurosawa.

    I decided to focus my research on what makes Kurosawa a unique director (be it through the Eastern-Western film theory or just a unique director), and more particularly on how critics in France and in the US perceived Kurosawa WHEN the films where released (that is, actual reviews in your local newspaper in the 1950s). How, for example, was Gorki’s adaptation by AK perceived in socialist newspaper in a Cold War Context. Was it Shakespeare that critics liked or Shakespeare vs. Noh that critics liked ?

    I’m having a lot of trouble finding US sources, so I was wondering if you could possibly advise me regarding some books not about the films of Kurosawa but about their reception, their impact in the audience rather than the impact on film scholars.

    If you’re having any leads or even remarks that could help me, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    PS: this is a really amazing website !

      link

    cocoskyavitch

    Dear kasipierre, I wish you the best on your research and hope you will be able to share your work, or some portion of it with us when you smack it into shape. I am interested in hearing where you end up placing Kurosawa’s ouvre.

    If I remember correctly, the Stuart Galbraith book “The Emperor and the Wolf” reproduced some of the contemporary criticism of Kurosawa’s work. I might jump off from there with names of critics and do some investigations based on what you can hunt up.

    James Goodwin’s “Perspectives on Akira Kurosawa” also includes a chapter on criticism. I think it likely that once you know some of the names and newspapers they appeared in, you may find the articles you are looking for!

      link

    Ugetsu

    It might seem obvious, but review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes sometimes links to ‘original’ reviews, such as they exist online. Sometimes the links allow you to access reviews which are now behind paywalls, such as this contemporary New York Times review of Rashomon.

    Like Coco, I’d be very interested to know more about what you find, please do report back to us!

      link

    Vili Maunula

    Kasipierre, this is a topic that I too would be very interested in learning more about. Unfortunately, there are very few secondary sources that I know of, so you will most probably have to dig up primary sources, i.e. the original reviews themselves. The only book that really touches on the topic on any level is Stuart Galbraith’s biography of Kurosawa and Mifune, which Coco already mentioned.

    If you have access to online research tools, I know that some library database searches give you information about reviews written at the time the films came out. They are by no means comprehensive listings, but could serve as a starting point.

    Do also take a look at the Movie Review Query Engine, which also includes some older reviews.

    It would be very interesting to read your paper once it’s ready!

      link

    Ugetsu

    I forgot to mention that Donald Richie’s ‘Rashomon‘ has a number of contemporary reviews (raves and, almost unbelievably, bad reviews from the New Yorker and London Times). It also has a few near contemporary articles on the film.

    Do also take a look at the Movie Review Query Engine, which also includes some older reviews.

    Interesting website, I find old reviews really interesting sometimes. Among other things, it shows how rarely film reviewers spot truly great films at the time of their release.

      link

    kasipierre

    Hello !

    So, it has been a long time since I posted here, but I’ve been doing a fair amount of research.

    So far, I’ve found that Kurosawa, being the first Japanese known in the Western world, people who saw his films had no idead what to think of it, so used their familiar framework to understand the movie, which generated mitigated reviews. However, there’s a two-fold movement from that point. On the one hand, some academics, whom also write in newspapers, get more and more interested in Kurosawa as they discover him being very different from other Japanese movie makers. On the other hand, young directors start to see his films, mostly in the US, and they end up being very inspired by AK’s work. Therefore, as they become popular (Lucas, Spielberg, etc.) they also increase Kurosawa’s popularity.

    In one sentence: it’s because a handful of people found Kurosawa really good and because they explained it (academia) or showed it (remaking/producing Kurosawa) to the general public, he became one of the world’s most praised directors.

    does that make any sense to you ? I feel like it does to me, but I’ve been focused in my work for a long time, so i’m not very objective…

    also, do you know a source where I could get the box office entries / gross revenu from Kurosawa movies ? I’ve tried the-numbers.com or boxofficemojo.com but they only have them starting from Kagemusha….

    Thanks !

      link

    Vili Maunula

    kaspierre: In one sentence: it’s because a handful of people found Kurosawa really good and because they explained it (academia) or showed it (remaking/producing Kurosawa) to the general public, he became one of the world’s most praised directors.

    I’m not sure if it was just a handful of people, and I would definitely say that Kurosawa’s skills as a film maker who explored the limits of a young art form must also have contributed to his success. But in the end, I’m sure that without people like Richie or Lucas Kurosawa wouldn’t be as well known in the west as he is today.

    kaspierre: also, do you know a source where I could get the box office entries / gross revenu from Kurosawa movies ?

    Unfortunately, I am not aware of any such listing. I have been wanting to compile something like this for some time now, but it’s one of those “I’ll do that one day” projects that keep getting pushed back. And it seems difficult, perhaps impossible, to find such data today. Galbraith mentions some box office details, but rarely actual specific figures.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)



Leave a comment

Log in or Register to post a comment!