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Kurosawa in Nine Months

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    BMWRider

    So I have been a bit ill lately and went off on a Hitchcock tangent because there was no way I could write about inner city education while I was dealing with sinus problems. I watched a few of his early British films and found a book called A Year of Hitchcock. I thought the idea was intriguing and started to ponder on the possibilities. Why not Kurosawa in Nine Months?

    So I sat down and wrote an outline (I have done a lot of them lately) and have been beating around the idea. Starting from Sugata Sanshirล and going all the way to Madadyo, I think this could be really compelling stuff. I have a pretty extensive library concerning AK, and I think a lot of it is very scholarly. Why not a book for the average movie buff?

    Each entry would include the specifics about the film (date of release, original title, aspect ratio, studio, principle actors, etc.), a plot summary, a critique, a discussion of themes, and maybe trivia about the film. To round out the directed films I would include (this is just a thought) Vendetta for a Samurai (Hulu), Tora Tora Tora, Runaway Train, Ame Agaru, Dora-Heita, and Umi wa miteita. If there were a copy of Uma I would probably replace one of these and am open to other ideas.

    So before I spend a bunch of my spare time on this, I would like to hear your thoughts. Dreaming big I would not only like to make this a book and website but a podcast as well. I cannot think of a better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest directors of all time. I am open to all criticism and look forward to hearing all of your ideas.

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    Vili Maunula

    Sounds great, BMWRider! I have started something similar with the film section here, but only the Rashomon page is really finished to any degree. I just struggle to find the time.

    In addition to discussing films that Kurosawa wrote but did not direct, an additional thematic option could be to explore some of the remakes and reimaginings of Kurosawa’s work. Personally, I am particularly fascinated by the thread that runs from Dashiell Hammet to Yojimbo, and from there to Sanjuro, A Fistful of Dollars and Django, and then to Sukiyaki Western Django and Django Unchained, with influences bouncing left and right (or, east and west). Seven Samurai and Rashomon have similarly fascinating histories. Of course, just covering all of Kurosawa’s own films sounds like a herculean task in itself!

    I suppose you would like to do your own thing completely, but if there is anything that I can offer in terms of hosting content here at ak.info, let me know!

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    BMWRider

    I suppose you would like to do your own thing completely

    I am not sure about that Vili. I just looked over the Rashomon page over again and I really like it. It is really a web version of Donald Richey’s “The Films of,” with a lot more detail. I think it is awesome. I wonder if we could not use the material as I develop it to create pages for each film and to help flesh out an individual page for each film? Also, if you (or someone else) wants to contribute criticism or other content, why could we not collaborate? As long as everyone understands the average non-fiction book sells about 200 copies and no one is going to make any money, why not? This would be a labor of love. It is much easier to divide up the work and get things done, than to get stalled on Drunken Angel because time is just not available.

    I want to keep this to the level of the film buff and not the critic. Roger Ebert’s book or the aforementioned A Year of Hitchcock are really my inspirations. Think it over and if you, or anyone else wants to pitch in, I am more than happy to share in it. I do not have desires to be the only author, I just would like a Kurosawa book for the common film fan. Also, if a podcast is in the future, it will have to be more than me. With modern technology that would be pretty easy. But one guy muttering about a film is boring, two or three discussing a film could be really interesting.

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    Vili Maunula

    Sounds good, BMWRider. I have often toyed with the idea of putting together a self published book from the materials I have written here, but it has always had to wait until I have actually written and published all the materials that I have planned here. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wouldn’t expect a book like that to sell much of anything, but it could be a nice exercise to complete, and it could perhaps drive a new type of an audience to the website as well, resulting in what I am trying to achieve here: a place fostering interesting discussion on Kurosawa and related topics.

    We could definitely look into what could be done as a team and a group. I have already prepared rough outlines for almost all of Kurosawa’s films, some of which are in more comprehensive state than others (none anywhere near as complete as the published Rashomon page), and could perhaps work as a starting point. What I currently have far less to offer is time, as I am already trying to juggle too many tasks and projects, but it is of course at least partly a question of scheduling as well.

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    BMWRider

    What I currently have far less to offer is time, as I am already trying to juggle too many tasks and projects, but it is of course at least partly a question of scheduling as well.

    I understand this as well. I have a music project that will not be done until this summer, my dissertation is at about 80% and I have two other books in the pipeline, one is probably six months from being completed. So here is my plan. With your consent, I will send you an outline and content for one movie every two weeks or so. I will start from the beginning, so it will be easy at first and get increasingly difficult as time goes by. You can get a feel for what I envision, make suggestions, contribute as your schedule allows and if someone else want to jump on, we can split up work. You may use the content here as you see fit. With your permission, if I can use what you have already done that would be great. I may get some films that I have seen repeatedly done quickly, I also intend to spend less time on projects AK did not direct (Tora! Tora! Tora!, Vendetta for a Samurai, Snow Trail, and the last three films that he wrote). So while I say two weeks, there may be a quick flow from time to time. My goal is to have this done by August of 2017.

    I ask anyone that wants to participate to please let me know. The podcast could be a lot of fun as could writing about some of these films. I enjoy people’s contributions to the Film Club and think a lot of those could be interesting in a book format. Again, all I ask is that this be accessible to the common film buff. Think smart but not genius or critic.

    Vili, I appreciate your encouragement. The worst thing that could happen is we flesh out the sections on a few of the movies here on your site. If that is the end result, it is an accomplishment.

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    Vili Maunula

    Sorry for the silence! I was on a work trip and then Prince, as you may have heard, passed away, and Prince, as you may have guessed from some of my posts over the years, is a big deal for me. It’s difficult to accept that we now live in a princeless world. I don’t like it.

    Anyway, what you propose sounds good, BMWRider. The podcast may be challenging to organise, but my dream has been to make a Kurosawa related YouTube series, so I know all about dreaming big. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You can pretty much find my film outlines from the film club posts, as those are what I have been planning to flesh out for the filmography pages at some point when I’m not juggling two startups, a day job and a creative project. (So… ummm… never? ๐Ÿ˜† ) Some of the intros are more comprehensive than others.

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    lawless

    I have kind of drifted away, as you can tell (I do get the Twitter updates), but I would be interested both in contributing to the book and any podcast. I had mentioned to Vili awhile back the idea of some of us adapting our commentary and analysis into a book geared toward film buffs because it seems to me that there are things most film critics don’t see or discuss or which they get wrong or overcomplicate. This sounds like a step in that direction.

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    BMWRider

    Love to have all the help I can get. I have been out of touch because I am writing chapters 4 and 5 of my dissertation. When that is done, I will have the time and this will get done.

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