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News roundup: Exhibition, drawings, Magnificent Seven and quantum weirdness

Kurosawa on the set of Record of a Living Being
It’s time once again to go through Akira Kurosawa related news and links which are interesting, but not quite interesting enough to warrant their own posts. As it’s been almost two weeks since the last time we did this, there is quite a haul.

First of all, if you are in Tokyo this spring, you may want to check out the just opened Setagaya Art Museum exhibition titled Toho Studios – Innovative Filmmakers in Setagaya. It apparently introduces the creative people who worked for the studio and explores how some of the films were made, with a special focus on Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla. The Wall Street Journal has additional details.

Meanwhile, the Ghibli Blog has posted a video of the old but always good interview that Kurosawa did with animator Hayao Miyazaki, who recently became the second Japanese director (with Kurosawa) to receive an Honorary Academy Award from the Motion Picture Association of America. What makes Ghibli Blog’s post especially nice is the translated transcript of that interview.

Speaking of authors and artists who know how to use a pen, Greg Ruth has done a lovely series of Seven Samurai ink drawings. Although finding and linking to individual Twitter posts is an absolute pain, I have gone through that pain to bring you the whole set, so do take a look: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and a group picture.

This week’s reviews include Kung-fu Kingdom’s Yojimbo review and Stanley W. Rogouski’s thoughts on Throne of Blood and The Bad Sleep Well.

If podcasts are your thing, the Eclipse Viewer has a 100 minute episode on Kurosawa’s early films, or more specifically, the Eclipse box set that contains them.

The Yomiuri Shinbun has polled its visitors about who they think are the internationally most successful Japanese individuals, and Kurosawa places third after baseball player Ichiro Suzuki and Nobel Prize winner professor Shinya Yamanaka.

In Hollywood, the casting of The Magnificent Seven remake continues, with Haley Bennett signing for the female lead whose husband is murdered by bandits and who enlists the seven samurai cowboys to avenge it. The film, of course, is a remake of a remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, although according to a recent Indiewire article, there will be some plot changes, including the new film being set in the American Civil War.

Director John Boorman has talked to TwitchFilm, and while the interview has nothing to do with Kurosawa, Boorman gives a delicious answer when asked about his experiences with directing Toshirō Mifune in Hell in the Pacific (1968): “I was fortunate to meet and get to know [Akira] Kurosawa, and he said to me when I was in Tokyo – I went to see him when I was casting Mifune – and he said, ‘You can’t direct Mifune, all you can do is point him.'”

And finally, a recent paper in quantum mechanics has made the news with a press release that uses Kurosawa’s Rashomon to describe our universe’s apparent lack of objective reality. For more information, check out the New York Times article, or indeed the paper itself, which refers to neither Kurosawa nor his film.


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