A new Toshirō Mifune documentary titled Mifune: The Last Samurai had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival a year ago, but more or less disappeared from the radar since. Things have now changed, with the documentary having just been screened at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, and next shown at the London Film Festival next month.
In October, the film will also be shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival (US), Film Fest Gent (Belgium), the Kyoto International Film & Art Festival, and the Sao Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil). In November, it will screen at the Hawai’i International Film Festival.
Narrated by Keanu Reeves, the 80-minute documentary was directed by the Japanese American filmmaker Steven Okazaki, who previously won an Academy Award for his short documentary Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo. It was written by Okazaki together with film expert Stuart Galbraith IV, whose books include the dual biography of Mifune and Akira Kurosawa titled The Emperor and the Wolf.
The documentary features rare archival footage and interviews with people who worked with Mifune, as well as those he influenced, the latter including people like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. The film focuses largely on his samurai roles and explores the actor’s status as the first international non-white action hero. Mifune: The Last Samurai also looks at the golden era of Japanese cinema, as well as the war and how it affected Mifune’s life and career.
For the official information, check out the Farallon Films website. Also, did you know that Mifune Productions also has not only a website, but also a Facebook account? Kurosawa Productions has a bit of catching up to do in that sense, as their website (kurosawapro.com) has been giving out an error for months now.
Have you seen Mifune: The Last Samurai or are you planning to attend any of this year’s screenings? I have yet to find the opportunity to see it myself. Drop a note below if you end up catching Mifune: The Last Samurai somewhere!