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Something Like a Short Bullet Point Autobio

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    Jeremy

    –Studied theoretical physics for 3 years at a highly recognized university, with plans eventually earn a doctorate degree.

    –Virtually no interest in movies, I stumbled across The Seven Samurai and became very intrigued.

    –Researched older movies to discover the modern trash I have been accustomed to, was far from what movies really are.

    –The interest became addictive and with all my spare time learning the theories and practices over the art of movie making, it began to negatively effect my schooling

    –With much debate, I decided to drop out of college and enter the movie industry.

    –Little success at first, but my understanding on movie theory, shocked the people in the movie studios as well as me

    –Started doing technical advisory work for small and later large films, I decided to use aliases, to save my name for more important adventures.

    –Started the early stage of my writing and directorial debut.

    –Wheels in motion and connections with industry people made, the rest is unknown

    I will blame my pending success or failure on Kurosawa 🙂

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    Jeremy

    Forgot to mention, I attend this to be perhaps a thread where the other visitors can post a quick bit of information about themselves to keep in one area.

    I thought Vili’s thread should be its own, considering its his site and thought a combined thread would spark more conversations about each other then a several individual ones. Feel free to add to this one if you wish.

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    Ben

    All right, all right I’l try and go ahead…

    My name is really Ben – surprise! surprise! –

    I consider myseld some kind of storyteller, whether it is through filmmaking or writing, or any other form. I did attend film school in 2004/2005. I am still not sure if that was a good decision.

    I’ve made some shor films, worked on some features (One in particular for a good friend, which gets it’s world premiere this Tuesday at MethodFest in Cali)

    I’ve written some scripts too. As of late I have moved away from LA for a breather, concentrating on more short story writing ALA my favorite writer Ray Bradbury. I am also a teacher’s aide in a kindergarten and some kind of a graphics artist…

    My cinematic obsessions have gradually grown stronger since childhood. And of course Kurosawa was a big part in my obsessions and passions growth. My aunt, Maggie suggested I see his films when I was 15.

    In august 1998, I saw Ran and my love of his work grew from there. He and the people he surrounded himself with, have taught much in the art of cinema and led me to many more filmmakers I now love.

    I have yet to see all of his films. 22 down.

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    Vili Maunula

    I was originally planning to have everyone start their own thread under the “Introductions” section, but Do What Thou Wilt, as a certain English gentleman once so repeatedly told us mere mortals. 🙂

    (Two points to whoever knows without checking the name of the said gentleman. Hint: he was a contemporary of William Butler Yeats, was very much interested in the same topics as was Yeats, but was in many ways the complete opposite of the Irish poet.)

    It is interesting to note that both of you have hands-on experience with film making. I have also tried my hands in it, although I think I will keep to writing scripts, as technology is sometimes well beyond me, especially with cameras and such.

    I once started to film a script of mine that was slightly inspired by Kurosawa’s “Dreams” (but perhaps unknowingly more so by Jungian theory of Archetypes), but that project halted when the weather dropped below -35C (-31F) and the camera literally froze.

    But my dream is to one day enroll to a summer course in digital film making, more so to get to work in an environment that encourages film making than to actually learn anything about the actual craft.

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    BMWRider

    Let’s see, my name is Mike, son of two German parents, conceived in a town called Grunstadt, born in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I was raised in and near Washington, DC. I joined the military at 17, and worked on my college degree over the next 20+ years. I have a background in electronics and computers. I took a lot of engineering classes, but ended up with a degree in history, concentrating on American-Asian interactions. I spent 23 years in the Coast Guard. I currently teach history and civics to 14 and 15 year olds.

    I grew up in a house with a fond appreciation for the arts, but without a television. I am a frustrated musician, an occasional author, and a lover of art and music. My politics are Lockian/von Mises, my tastes are too expensive and I like to know something about everything.

    I fell in love with movies in my late teens and early 20s. I used to haunt “art house” theaters. I dabbled briefly in film in my teen years, I belonged to a movie club in school, but I was never very good at direction, though I did have a steady camera hand. I studied film for a while in University. My film professor is still one of my closest friends, we visit each other regularly.

    I have a deep love for certain directors and tend to hunt out any and all of their releases, particularly Akira Kurosawa, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder. I also love progressive rock music, bebop jazz, motorcycles (BMW R1150RT), sports cars (Porsche 968), dogs (Shelties), wild birds, travel, and cooking.

    I have two sons, 19 and 21, a beautiful wife, two dogs, three cats, and a fish.

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    Jeremy

    Sorry Vili, didnt intend a hostile take over of your site, with feature request and by making several threads. Having help start other forums, I noticed a few things to do that appear to give new members a feel of the forum and a area to post freely, without wondering it they should hold back posting a new thread. New forums to me appear a bit cold and so activity is very slow, thought I would attempt to add something to help get it started.

    Feel free to change, edit, delete what I’ve done, it wont hurt my feelings, your the boss after all =)

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    Jeremy

    To answer your question Vili, and without research, my guess is British poet Crowley, first name starts with a C or A.

    “There is no law beyond, Do what thou wilt” is a quote I remember, though your mention of William Butler Yeats is no help to me, I haven’t heard of the man.

    If am right its a funny, I remember Crowley’s name because while browsing though his work, I had Ozzy Osborne’s “Mr. Crowley” song playing, purely by chance-the player was on random. The song is about that man, though no quotes of his are used in the song. The quote you mention and song will be forever linked together. Big fan of Black Sabbath and then Ozzy’s solo career.

    A bit of information regarding the song and poet

    http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1190

    BMWRider, I know the 968 well, I borrowed a ’94 968 6 speed to learn how to drive a manual in 1999 I might of possibly set the record for number of stales, without moving an inch, in that car. The car is still around but I’ve only driven it once since then. That was the car that started my hobby of road course racing. The only other Porsche, I have driven is the 911 GT2, it borrowed as well for racing.

    Theres also a new BMW motorcycle dealer that open up and I’ve been eying a bike there, but cant realistically afford another vehicle yet, but wont stop me from thinking about it.

    Ben, what film school did you go to?

    A lot of people wonder if its a good idea or not. The answer range widely but the way I see it, the old masters went to film school to get access to film equipment they could never afford. Now of days a nice, fairly cheap digital equipment can be rented. The money that would of been spent at film school could go to fund a movie project. Most people I talk to say they learned very little what it takes to direct, its way I decided to skip it.

    What did you think about it?

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    Ben

    Jeremy,

    Well I went to a one year immerison program at the LA film school. I was probably in the last class beofe they turned it into a fully certified sausage factory. Get in, get out.

    As with any school, I suspect, it was a mixed bag. I did learna lot of important and valuable tehcnical information… although I could have also learned this by working on sets outside of school, it wa sa safe enviroment to do so.

    I also met some friends who will be life long and got a chance to actually shoot on 16mm film.

    In the end the worst parts are loans and the fact that the school ran in a very ridged and stifling style admin. wise. That led to a lot of poor handling of student affairs and such.

    For me I was an outside even at the school. One of handful who had made films prior to comging to the school and had a deep passion for it. It is great to meet new people and all, and watch them grow, but that was a dissapointing factor.

    I really couldn’t talk Kurosawa or Bergman or Miyazaki with many of them.

    Heck, the film studies screening teacher refused my request to show Persona, because she said that a class from the previous year hated it.

    Not much of a teacher…

    The question is though, how many of the old masters went to film school? I don’t think anyone really did, before the Spielberg/Coppala/Schorsesse/Lucas generation.

    Not many were in exsistence, so I am told to understand.

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    Jeremy

    You summed up about what I’ve heard, I know people that have gone thinking they would learn the ideas and thinkings behind the directors that started everything. They only become disappointed to find everything is skipped over, what is taught can be learned elsewhere. From what I noticed film graduates may know all the terminology but havent a clue what it really means. I also find it a bit funny that they dont know how to actually buy film or rent equipment, much less know what they need.

    Not that I had a clue in the beginning either but, I didnt spend $100K and 4 years in film school.

    I get ask from time to time about film school, I hate telling people to skip school, but if movies is what you want to get into, the time and money could go to far more important things. There is also no that will hire you, just because you have a film degree, your chance of success is as slim as the next guy.

    I was a bit pressed for time and quickly summed up my previous comment. Your right the “old” masters had no film school to attend. The more recent master directors as I attended to say, I believe only really went to get access to the equipment, so I have read from Spielberg and Scorsese.

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    Ben

    And Spielberg dropped out of community college. He didn’t even make it to UCLA or USC… Wasn’t accepted.

    Lukcily I don’t have as much of a $100K under my belt to pay off and I do know how to rent equipment and buy film. *phew* Though this is actually not that hard in the first place, I think. Ever heard of common sense, peopele? 😉

    I think I have an understanding of the terminology, at least the stuff I remember… For whatever reason I recall how David O. Russel doesn’t yell action or cut…

    The classes that came in after me (a new class started every other month) lived up to the stereotypes you talked about. They were young (most fresh out of high school), from the valley and just wanted a piece of the action.

    I don’t mean to condemn them, as they had a lot of raw tenacity that I found hard to personally come by, but there was nothing of value in the work they tried to create. And I use that word lightly.

    I don’t wish to box people in and point fingers, but many just felt like the generics anyone, anywhere in the industry has come to expect. And that is not an entirely bad thing, because we need handy, efficient doers to assist the creatives, but I am just not in that group.

    Do I resent them? Yes and no… As with anything it is complicated and in the grey more so then black and white.

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    Vili Maunula

    Jeremy – You are probably right about the “one thread to rule them all” approach to Introductory threads. Let’s keep this here and see what happens. 🙂

    And yes, it was Aleister Crowley, although calling him a “poet” is a bit of a stretch. He did write poetry as well, but it wasn’t really his forte, unlike with William Butler Yeats, who is actually one of my favourite poets.

    Crowley was better known as an occultist, and the “Wickedest Man In the World”. An interesting personality of the time. And yes, Ozzy indeed has a song about Crowley. Ozzy being an interesting personality as well.

    Fascinating to read about all of your experiences about film schools and such.

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    Master Thief

    My name is Doug and I am an Australian who has been living in New Zealand for 4 years. My other main obsession is the music of Bob Dylan which is where the “Master Thief” comes from – a line in “Positively 4th Street”. I have been a Kurosawa fan for over 30 years, but only recently have I acquired some of his older films. I still haven’t watched them all.

    I have vivid memories of seeing his first colour films on the big screen when they were first released – particularly Dodeskaden & Dersu Uzala and later Kagemusha & Ran. Opportunities to see any of his films on a big screen is pretty rare these days and especially so in Dunedin, New Zealand (pop 130,000). Some of my other favourite Directors are Fellini, Kubrick and Herzog.

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    Vili Maunula

    Master Thief, you are so lucky to have been able to enjoy Kurosawa’s films at the time when they were released. We younger generation fans can only imagine what it must have felt like to walk into the screenings of a brand new Kurosawa film!

    As there are no other directors whom I regard as highly, I can only think that it might be (for me) something like what it is going to see a new David Lynch film (Inland Empire is opening next week here in Finland) multiplied by the anticipation I have for going to watch a new Ridley Scott film.

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    TheGreatMifune

    My name is Bobby.

    I live in Dallas, TX.

    26 yrs old.

    Huge fan of movies. Mainly interested in Classics, Independents and Arthouse films.

    Became interested in Kurosawa after a friend loaned me a copy of The Seven Samurai about 2 years ago, I became a mega fan and have seen over 20 Kurosawa films now.

    I am a Criterion DVD addict. I have between 75-80 Criterions in my collection.

    I learned about this site from Vili Maunula on the imdb.com Kurosawa Boards.

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    Jeremy

    Nice to see a local, I am in Houston, I normally go to Dallas once a monthto see my sister at UT Arlington.

    Impressive Criterion collection

    I thought I had a lot of Criterions, right now am around 40, I just bought 10 last week at the big DVDPlanet Criterion Sale, theres so many more I want but they are expensive.

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    Laurence Watson

    Oh go on then…

    You all seem like such a lovely bunch of Kurosawa groupies so I might as well break my usual tradition of frequently visiting forums but never posting. I’m Laurence and I live in South Manchester in England. I am currently in my last year at Durham University studying English Lit, but my passion for academic work has been VASTLY compromised by my love for student film-making. This reached its peak in October when I had a 41 minute semi-feature projected onto the big screen in the local cinema, an experience which is possibly the most terrifying of my life (hiding in the projection room was the only viable option.) As well as directing and editing pretty basic (but rewarding) minor projects, I have miraculously discovered a passion for cinematography. This is almost certainly due an obsession with aesthetic composition and palette, as well as a brief history of camera operation. And yes, Kazuo Miyagawa is the best thing since sliced bread, (sliced bread having been invented the following winter.) I graduate (hopefully) in June and I have to decide in the next couple of months whether I’m going to apply to film school, or merely take a year out and try and get a more successful reel together.

    My ultimate goal in life is to spend 50% of my career developing my own films alongside passionate and opinionated collaborators, and spend the other 50% doing cinematography for other people’s projects. How I get there is the major issue…

    The first Kurosawa film I saw was Hidden Fortress, partly due to my previous obsession with the original Star Wars movies. Since then I have seen all of his works, which I will happily cherish in my collection for different reasons. Even Sanshiro Sugata II is a fascinatingly blunt propagandistic composition (although I prefer The Most Beautiful for its pure sincerity), and as much as I find The Idiot the most difficult of his film to watch it is still undoubtedly one of his most visually striking. I would happily spend a year of my life devoted to discovering and restoring the original 4 hour 30 minute cut, as alluded to on the Masters of Cinema release of the film. Kurosawa has also led to an increased interest in Ozu, Mizoguchi, Ichikawa, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Fellini, Bunuel and others. Which is ironic considering that my first experience with the director is his most pedestrian (or at least one of his most easily accessible) work.

    I’ll stop rambling there as I really could type forever. I hope to post here a lot more often 😀 Oh yeah and has anyone here seen Those Who Make Tomorrow? I’d give my left arm to see that film…

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    Jeremy

    ^^Sounds like we have similar problems with movies effecting our school work. I remember having a film I did most of the work on play in a festival. I experiance extreme changes from absolute fear to over-excitement, along with everything in between. I ended in the projector room to hide, only to discover all the other directors having their work shown at the same time hiding away in there too. 🙂

    The sad part regarding the full 4:30hr “The Idiot” from what I read will never happen, as common practice stated that all cut parts where to be destroyed. All that remain anywhere are the masters after the studio cut the picture down.

    Most of the early Kurosawa with no DVD release I have only had chances to see parts of it and some where not translated. “Those Who Make Tomorrow” is one of them, I going to the A.K. Museum Gallery and Theater in Japan towards the end of the year, in hope such films will be there. However it seems even the Museum has little idea what the A.K. Theater will be used for, nor when it will be completed.

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    Vili Maunula

    Hi Laurence!

    So, is it Man United or Man City? Your answer to this question will determine whether you remain on this forum or not. 😉 (Just kidding, of course.)

    I actually haven’t seen “Those Who Make Tomorrow”, as I always filter it out mentally when it comes to a list of Kurosawa’s films. I am, however, working on a section for the website regarding the availability of films that Kurosawa had any sort of an involvement with (scripts, assistant, remakes, etc.), so if you can give me a few weeks (once I get an Internet connection working next week), I’ll see if I can come up with any answers regarding the availability of the movie.

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    BMWRider

    I have never met a single person, live or on the internet who has seen Those Who Make Tomorrow. AK ignores it in his autobiography. I believe Richie has seen it, so there must be a copy out there somewhere.

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    Jeremy

    I saw around 10 minutes of what I was told to be “Those Who Make Tomorrow” on a 16mm projector. It was at a conference regarding various old movies at NYU. I only recall a scene where 2 girls sit on a bench staring at each other, and a man comes in yelling at them-so I never really seen it.

    I think Kurosawa skips talking about because he was forced by Toho to work on it, and never cared about the film to credit himself

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    BMWRider

    Well you are the first. My understanding from all my reading is that AK and three other directors made it to pacify the union.

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    JohnVFerrigno

    My name is, as the member name implies, John.

    I came across this site by accident and wasthrilled to see a forum where people actually have intelligent discussions and don’t feel the need to do the typical internet troll things found on places like IMDb.

    Unlike most of you, i don’t have much of an “official” education. Went to college on a scholarship, realized I didn’t want to stay, and got a job driving a forklift to supporst myself.

    Big lover of movies, Kurosawa being my favorite director.

    I am an aspiring screenwriter, having no kind of patience for actual directing. I just want to be able to make a living writing from home one day.

    Glad i found this place, I’m looking forward to being here with you all.

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    Vili Maunula

    Hi John, and welcome to the group!

    Like you, I would love to be able to make a living out of writing from home. Unfortunately, so many things have got on the way in the past years (or are they just excuses?) that I haven’t been able to try that yet.

    I actually even tried Kurosawa’s suggestion to write a single page every evening, but I can’t work like that. If I write, I’ll have to immerse myself for hours and days on end to be able to get anything done. Switching into a writing mode unfortunately doesn’t happen to me in a second, or even a day.

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    JohnVFerrigno

    The biggest problem i have had in my recent switch to taking my writing more seriously is to realize that it is a long process. In the past, i would always write things in marathon sessions, siting down and not getting up until I was finished. But that isn’t realistic rght now. So i have to do the whole “few pages a day” thing. it’s frustrating, because it feels like if i sit down and hammer out 3-5 pages of a screenplay, it feels like I haven’t done anyhting. But, i have to think of it as “if I do that every day for three weeks, at the end, I should have a first draft done.” So really, it’s all about staying focused and persistant. I don’t have a shortage of ideas, I just need to spend the time fleshing them out and doing draft after draft until i have somehting that may get me noticed. it’s a hard thing to adjust to.

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    Jon Hooper

    Ok, here’s mine.

    My taste in cinema was pretty much limited to American movies until I took a chance on Seven Samurai five years ago. I was, if you’ll forgive the run of gushing clichés, absolutely blown away. It was a whole new world opening up for me. The best way I can put it is that for the first time since childhood I had the experience of being transported into another world, one that was strange and noble, and completely unlike anything in western cinema. I suppose part of the attraction was exoticness, at first. The beauty of the images, like the shots of Washizu and Miki riding through Cobweb Forest in Throne of Blood, were unlike anything I had ever seen.

    I still haven’t seen all of Kurosawa’s movies – the poor quality of some of the available DVDs has put me off, as has the sheer expense of collecting the best available versions. I’m still fairly passionate about Kurosawa but for a period between 2003 and 2005 I came close to becoming an obsessive, watching the films over and over again. At that time, there seemed to be little available on the web – there was a very good site called Kurofan but that has apparently disappeared now. It was nice, then, to stumble upon this site. Lately I have been trying to cut down on film watching – there are too many good books that I haven’t yet read – but Kurosawa remains my favourite director.

    Kurosawa has led me to investigate other great directors of world cinema, but where I live it is difficult to get hold of foreign films and it means buying a film if I want to try out a director. In quite a few cases I have followed Kurosawa’s own recommendations and been impressed by directors like Satyajit Ray and Andrei Tarkovsky. The latter is my favourite director apart from Kurosawa, and his Andrei Rublev is, alongside Seven Samurai, my favourite film.

    Like Master Thief, my lifelong passion has been the music of Bob Dylan. I recently self-published a book called Like a Rebel Wild, which is the result of nearly twenty years of listening to and reading about Dylan. It would be great to put together a similar work on Kurosawa one day, if I ever get the time.

    I work as a teacher of English as a foreign language. My past work history includes a stint as a maker of documentary shorts, one of which was featured on the BBC. Writing, though, is where my heart is at. Apart from the Dylan book, I have a few unpublished books under my belt, mostly in the category of Biblical fiction. My favourite authors include Dante, W.B.Yeats, Tolkien, James Joyce, C.S.Lewis, Nikos Kazantzakis.

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    Laurence Watson

    “Hi Laurence!

    So, is it Man United or Man City?”

    My delayed response to that is obvious – Stockport County :-p Although given the choice I’d undoubtedly have to go for Manchester City. But as a County fan I’m technically supposed to hate both. Ah well…

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    Vili Maunula

    Hehe. Football fandom is such a complicated issue. I’m a Doncaster Rovers supporter, by the way. However, as someone living outside of the UK, I am not so dictated by geographically based rivalries, so I do root for ManUtd as well. Although I do miss the days of Cantona…

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    Laurence Watson

    That’s awesome – I’ve been to a couple of away matches at Doncaster! It was half way between my university and Manchester so my brother and used to meet up to see them play County. I remember one match vividly because it was the most freezing day of my entire life, saved only by vegetable flavoured cup-a-soups. But now we’re in the division below you… and we’re NOT going anywhere anytime soon.

    Could happen in a cup draw though – its very possible.

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    Jon Hooper

    Hey all,

    This is the second time I’ve posted something here. My last post mysteriously disappeared, but hopefully someone will be able to read this before it vanishes.

    It was nice to finally come across a thorough and up-to-date Kurosawa site. There used to be one called Kurofan but that disappeared a while back. I’ve been a Kurosawa fan since 2002 (not that long ago then), when I took a chance on Seven Samurai. My favourite Kurosawa films are probably Red Beard, Throne of Blood, Ikiru, The Hidden Fortress, Kagemusha, Ran & Seven Samurai (hardly a short list, I know).

    Like Master Thief my other major interest is the music of Bob Dylan. As for directors, I’m also interested in Tarkovsky, John Ford, Sergio Leone, and most Japanese directors, though I do find it hard to get hold of “foreign” films where I live and usually have to buy them (latest purchases, Twenty-four Eyes & the Life of Oharu).

    I won’t write any more in case this message disappears as well. Nice to meet you all.

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    Vili Maunula

    Welcome to the site, Sanjuro! I’m really sorry (and puzzled) that the system decided to block your first try with the site. I’m glad that you hung around to try again, though!

    So, we have two Dylan fans here. I guess I really need to dive into his catalogue at some point. I’m a big Neil Young fan myself, and I keep reading about comparisons between the two.

    Whether or not it has anything to do with actual Dylan, I’m quite looking forward to Todd Haynes’s “I’m not There”.

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    Jon Hooper

    A lot of Dylan fans also like Neil, and I suppose it’s not hard to see why. I do like his earlier stuff, but I haven’t heard anything he’s done since Harvest Moon. “I’m Not There” does look interesting, though not sure how it will play to non fans.

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    Andrew

    Hello everyone (and Vili, what a wonderful site you’ve designed and moderated here!):

    I discovered this site a few months ago, through a link at Greencine’s daily blog, and have been checking in every few days since then. The prospect of dialogue with fellow Kurosawa admirers finally drew me out of lurker-hood.

    I’m a fellow in his late 30’s, living in beautiful East Tennessee, where I’m raising three splendid kids. I’m a psychiatrist who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder and primarily treats combat veterans. My favorite Kurosawa films of the moment are ‘Seven Samurai,’ ‘Rhapsody in August,’ and ‘Ikiru.’ Besides Kurosawa, my favorite directors are probably Miyazaki, Truffaut, Danny Boyle, and the Coen Brothers. Besides film, I enjoy good food (one can never eat enough cheese and chocolate), good music (folk rock and classical mainly), and travelling far and near.

    Although I have memories of watching ‘The Seven Samurai’ with my dad back when I was in college, I didn’t really ‘discover’ Kurosawa until about 2 years ago. I’d always been a lover of film, but the affinity I found with Kurosawa’s films has been life-changing. In him and his work, I find a warmth, beauty, worldview, and ethic that resonate strongly with me. A chronological review of his films, plus readings of articles and books on him and his work, have since led me to further amateur study of Japanese history and culture.

    In addition, I discovered that Kurosawa’s work resonated with me professionally, since much of his life and work seems to be about working through personal and societal trauma, with its attendant successes and failures (not an original idea, since Prince writes about this, too). Last year, I wrote an article/presentation entitled ‘Trauma and Re-formation in the Films of Akira Kurosawa,’ which I presented to my local colleagues and hope to share with a larger audience some year. If anyone would like a copy, just lemme know, and I’d be happy to share it. In addition, I’ve been able to track down a copy of the recently mentioned article entitled ‘Poetry of Unadulterated Imagination: The Late Style of Akira Kurosawa,’ and would be glad to pass along copies of this as well.

    Sorry if I’ve rambled too long. My participation here will most likely be sporadic, given my typically chock-full schedule, but I look forward to reading what all of you have to say, and find the prospect of an AK film club especially exciting.

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    Vili Maunula

    Hi Andrew, and welcome to the group! It’s nice to know that there is a trained psychiatrist amongst us, as I’m sure you will be able to bring a point of view to the discussion that the rest of us probably wouldn’t be the first to come up with.

    I would be very interested in both of the articles that you mentioned, especially the one that you yourself presented. My email address is vili.maunula(at)gmail.com, so in case it isn’t too much trouble, you can send them there.

    It is interesting that you mention Rhapsody in August as being one of your three current favourite Kurosawa movies. It seems to me that the film is not too often given that honour. It probably just goes to show how wide a range Kurosawa had, since no movie seems to lack someone who considers it one of his finest.

    (Although I yet need to meet the person who considers The Most Beautiful among Kurosawa’s finest. I don’t think anyone I know has promoted Sugata Sanshiro II, either.)

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    Jeremy

    Andrew, I would be very interested in your “Trauma and Re-formation in the Films of Akira Kurosawa” article, if you have a chance be sure to email it to Vili.

    By Miyazaki, do you mean the animated director? (I know of no other), I’m a bit of a fan myself, his works are fantastic.

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    Alexander

    Hi

    I am a German 30 year old male that works in lighting area of movies, I do some work in USA and Germany. I know english because my mother but I still learn to write better everyday.

    I dont know alot about Kurosawa but I have seen some of his more popular films. I watch most new movies. Old movies do not have much lighting principals so I forget to watch them. I start to watch older movies and find Kurosawa to be some of my favorites. I like the more action films I am not a big fan of dramas but I like Seven Samurais best because it is a mixture of everything. I like this site because I learn alot of information of great director Kurosawa and better like his movies.

    I think Jeremy that I know you. I know you cycle names so I am not for sure if it who I think.

    You work on a film in California where they call you pied piper like the book. I remember you make to fire everyone on the movie except the lighting which I did. I fought with you over some light problems and you like that I made a question instead of not question different principles.

    You will remember me because you were to go to Czech republic and you called me to help but they got mad at both us and used another people. Its been a long time but it was good. I notice your name because of old email, I decide to join site because I know you like Kurosawa.

    Thanks you for such a good site webmaster Vili

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    Jeremy

    😆 That was me, I forgot about that whole deal, it wasnt one of my finer moments.

    I did fire most of the crew, the whole thing was a giant mess, that later brought me down with it.

    I want someone to agree with me, because they agree, not because they are too lazy to think for themselves. The crew didnt help, they were just passive and offered no advice, just did whatever someone said to do. I believe this is way they called me in.

    I do remember getting in a debate with you, the only person that raise concerns, but I dont know what about, considering I dont know much about lighting, I have no idea what I could of disagreed on. I do know I went with your advice in the end, that was the only part of the entire thing that ended with success.

    I didnt go to the Czech Republic, because I did make a lot people mad with my comments when we last meet. Your name properly got wrapped up in mine. I didnt know they canceled your job out, hopefully I caused no long term effects for you. I always thought you went there, whatever happened to that project?

    I no longer doing corrective cinematography, but I will keep you in mind, but anything I would do in the future would be a much smaller production.

    Are you in Germany or America now?

    I also had no idea I was called the “pied piper” but the name fits I suppose, although I never got my revenge. 😛

    Whenever my real name in goggled, everything points to this site, your not the first to discover me that way. So far its just been old friends, hopefully no one make any connections with my job names, that would be a nightmare. Oh and all the other links with my name are not me, thats someone else with the same name, I think that guy is getting sick of strange emails intended for me. 😯

    Whatever email you have of mine, its still active, feel free to email me.

    So far no on this site, has any lighting perspective, I dont know how much thought Kurosawa put into lighting maybe you can offer something. Thats one area I am really weak on. I check this site daily, I look forward to hearing more from you.

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    Alexander

    I am happy to know it is you because of many names. I was looking for many people I used to know and many are hard to find because of outside budget pay. I get lucky finding you and a good site to learn more about movies and great director Kurosawa.

    It is best when everyone work together. You make no trouble for me it was of no large deal not working on film in the czech. I do not know what happens with that.

    I live in Germany close to Berlin the company has works in USA and sometimes I lead the team but it has been a long time since I go back to USA.

    I do know anything special with Kurosawa lighting. He appear to do normal like most old movies and dramas and do not use lots of special lighting. This is why I like the new action films this I see and do many principals.

    Light is important but more with the new movies and color. I started to watch the old movies for fun I try many German directors and now doing Italian and Japanese. I can not say about anything special of the lighting of Kurosawa or any director of the old. I do not think new films are very good but they use many tricks and lighting is one of the more important. I only know of this and nothing else. Sometimes I do drama movies but it is simple lighting principals. I like do experiments and trick that are only possible with new action movies.

    Alexander Hasler

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    Vili Maunula

    Welcome to the group, Alexander!

    If I recall correctly, lighting was quite an important aspect of film making for Kurosawa, and also one of the reasons why it took him so long to switch to filming in colour (the poor quality of colour film being the other major reason). I cannot claim to be an expert in the field, however, so I have no idea how his lighting choices compare with other directors of his time.

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    Lewis Saul

    It’s quite fascinating to see how AK worked with his cinematographers over the years. He used 16 different men (seven films credit two cinematographers, while Dersu Uzala credits three) in his 30 films.

    Perhaps Kazuo Miyagawa was the most influential in certain ways — although Kurosawa only managed to use his services twice (Rashomon and Yojimbo). I’m sure we can agree that those two films are memorable examples of startling use of lighting techniques.

    [two great examples from Rashomon, and they are both “silent” — the bandit under the shade tree when he first sees the samurai and woman; and the woodcutter’s trek through the forest…]

    However, Kurosawa used two men in 14 different films — Asakazu Nakai and Takao Saito.

    Nakai lit Ikiru and Seven Samurai and Saito lit Red Beard. Pretty fine examples of superbly lit films, I think…

    We can be sure that these two men had a very synergistic relationship with Kurosawa…

    I believe that lighting was crucial in Kurosawa’s thinking as early as No Regrets and Stray Dog, certainly…

    Stray Dog is filled with interesting shadows and creative set-ups.

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    Jeremy

    I too agree with Vili and Lewis, I do think Kurosawa took great care in lighting, but I cant really comment if there is anything unique or different compared to other films of the time period. Lighting is something I tend to overlook, likely due to not knowing enough to notice anything.

    You should watch Rashomon if you havent already, thats one film where I noticed some nice work on the lighting.

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    Alexander

    I have only watch Seven Samurais* Sanjuro*Hidden Forest. I do not know the ways of lighting of black and white movies. I am trying to learn more about black and white and drama lighting. My working is in the color of film and making high contrast and harden shadows to make movie appear certain way. I have done many Germany WWII films to make the movie look dirty and unnatural colors to give settings. The movies are of drama but with lights to make action in feelings.Maybe members have seen Hirschbiegel films? I work on this some it give good look at what I work at. There are so many principals of lighting but I only know a few so to be very good at those now I try to learn more styles with watching of old movies.

    Thanks you Vili and Lewis and Jeremy

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    Lewis Saul

    Wow, what Hirschbiegel films have you worked on?

    I loved The Experiment, which I picked up solely because of Moritz Bleibtreu, who I thought was fantastic in Run Lola Run

    As a Jew, I’d be very interested in seeing Ein ganz gewöhnlicher Jude, but it doesn’t appear to be released in the US as of yet…

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    Lewis Saul

    I totally forget that he also made Der Untergang.

    Very controversial film, perhaps greatly misunderstood as being somewhat sympathetic. In any case, in the hands of a good director, a film of this nature is much more powerful in the language in which the history actually took place. Bruno Ganz gave me chills.

    Superb film.

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    Alexander

    I did not do Experiment movie, but yes I get to work on the film ein gewöhnlicher Jude but only as second lead member of crew. It is a very good movie for the understanding of the Jewish people of Germany. My favorite is der Untergang I was to do some of the main key light and lots of the outdoor scenes. I learn lots of great importance of lighting with the indoor bunker. The lighting had to look like it came from the small lights in bunker but the cameras could not expose well so it was hard to make very bright light for camera but dull light to feel like bunker. Bruno Ganz is very great actor sometimes I get distracted with the acting and forget to watch the light.

    Some do say der Untergang is making great Hitler but to me it is wrong. I like it because itt is interesting and very well made and acted. The movie doesnt not hide the bad parts or make great the war or Hitler.

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    Andrew

    Sorry I didn’t reply to your comments sooner, Jeremy, but I was computer-less for a few days. Yes, I have forwarded my article to Vili, and you’re certainly welcome to it also. I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts on it here, if you or others are inclined to read it.

    And yes, I was referring to Hayao Miyazaki – my first viewing of ‘Spirited Away’ was truly transporting, and I return to it frequently. I’ve since dug into more of his films, as well as that of his Ghibli colleague, Isao Takahata; other favorites would include ‘Castle in the Sky’ and ‘Pom Poko’ (a delightful, but seemingly neglected, work about a group of mystical renegade raccoon dogs).

    Welcome, Alexander – how fascinating to hear that you worked on ‘Der Untergang.’ I thought it was an engrossing, convincing depiction of Hitler’s final hours with a terrific lead performance by Bruno Ganz.

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    Jeremy

    Alex, your emails come back rejected, but the problem with the login appears to be with the German keyboard profile would cause it to fail login sometimes, with the English keyboard I logged in to your profile with no problem every time.

    Do they still only credit one tech per city group? The American studio stopped doing that.

    I look forward to reading your article Andrew

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    Alexander

    Yes my yahoo USA account was full because I just use to not get junk in yahoo Deutschland account. I fix now the problem thanks for help it was my computer and not anything else. You can now use it and I send you yahoo Deutschland email now.

    Andrew it is nice to meet you.

    I have use this site for information and will buy some Kurosawa movies when I leave my work soon. Thanks you webmaster Vili.

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    Ugetsu

    Hello everyone, just a self introduction here – I’ve been lurking on this for a few weeks, thought it was time I’d join in, although I don’t have as much to offer as you guys. I was delighted to find this site – great (as someone above mentioned) to find a site that isn’t full of trolls or people trying to show off their knowledge.

    I’m Philip,yr old 41 in Dublin, Ireland. I’ve had an interest in Kurosawa and Japanese culture in general lurking in the back of my mind for quite a while, but its not been something I actively pursued. A trip to Japan a few years ago primed a stronger interest to learn more about Japanese culture with the aim of a few better planned trips – currently thinking of a bike trip from north tip to south tip, taking my time as i meander up (or down) as the case may be. I’ve even been mulling over following the wanderings of the characters in Sansho the Bailiff on a mountain bike! No doubt everything of interest is now covered with a pachinko parlour or a Starbucks, but I’d still like to do it.

    I started working my way through my local dvd library of ’50’s Japanese cinema mainly due to being housebound a year ago due to an accident – its the best thing that came out of the accident! I adore Ozu and Mizoguchi of course, but its Kurosawa I keep coming back to. Its coincided with the start of my personal disillusionment with so much modern cinema – too many movies made by people who know everything about the cinema, but nothing about life.

    I have no educational background in the cinema, I’m just a fan. I’m an urban planner by profession. But I would comment that a background in geography and environmental science stimulates one thing that fascinates me about Kurosawa – more than any other film maker I can think of (maybe Kubrick comes close), he has a ‘sense of place’. All his stories have a very precise and distinct geography. He draws out the physical confines of his stories brilliantly. Most famously of course in Seven Samurai where the characters even draw a map to help you out, but in every movie from the meandering offices of Ikiru to the physical geography of the unnamed city in High and Low he creates a three dimensional world for the viewer.

    Ok, enough rambling, I’ll get back to reading some of the threads!

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    yippee

    Hi Everyone. I posted earlier on the other place, but Jeremy is probably right, that space should probably be Vili’s as the creator, administrator and everything guy to this site. So, hi again, all.

    Happy to know that Kurosawa is still relevant and meaningful to people out there, and that there are those looking forward to celebrating his upcoming 100th!

    I belong to an OZU group, as well, (http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/ozu/) and if you love Ozu, they could use a little energy. I’ve been on that site a couple years.

    I am also interested in Mizoguchi, Kobayashi (Japanese post-War cinema in general) and the writings of Yasunari Kawabata. My other interests are in the visual arts, art history, educational travel and culture studies. I am a (lapsed) language learner of Chinese, a painter and I work at a university.

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    Vili Maunula

    Welcome to the group, Ugetsu! It’s great to have someone in the group with a professional’s eye on urban planning and geography. Kurosawa, indeed, had an incredible “sense of place”, which even I as someone who has no background in planning can appreciate.

    I hope that you will have the time to contribute to our discussion and, among everything else that you will have to offer, are ready to give us an expert’s view on Kurosawa’s sets and buildings. I’m sure that there are many insights that you could offer and that the rest of us would really appreciate reading!

    And welcome to Yippee as well, again. 🙂

    Funnily enough, although there aren’t that many of us active users, the mixture of people here is quite fascinating, providing for interesting insights and discussion, as I think we have already seen a number of times over in the past couple of years.

    And then there are, of course, those over 200 silent registered users who are out there somewhere, many of them apparently checking the site every week or so, but not ready to jump into the discussion quite yet.

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