Tagged: list, suggestion
4 February 2011
What is a good movie to serve as an introduction to his films? By that I mean, what movie of his is a good example of his work? Can someone recommend a film that best shows his recurring themes? Not necessarily his most commercial or the most critically acclaimed. I’d like to know what fans and experts consider the most “Kurosawa” Kurasawa film and where I should start.
Hi Louie! I usually suggest either Stray Dog (1949), Ikiru (1952), High and Low (1963) or Ran (1985). Since his career spanned six decades, I don’t think that there is a single film that can be said to represent his whole career, but one of those should be a good introduction. Others here will probably be able to give their suggestions.
5 February 2011
I think I’d suggest Ikiru or High and Low as two films that most strongly typify Kurosawa’s common themes. It can be quite a personal thing though – there’s so much to choose from, and real variety in his output.
6 February 2011
I don’t think you’ll get a consensus on this!
Personally speaking, it was Stray Dog, and specifically the ending, that made Kurosawa ‘click’ for me, so its a good choice. But from the point of view of a newbie to Kurosawa, I think High and Low is a bit more accessible as a film (I’m assuming you are a newbie to Japanese film too – it can take a while to adjust yourself to the cultural differences and stop them distracting you from enjoying the film).
For me, the most purely enjoyable film Kurosawa made, and maybe the most accessible to people not familiar with films from the period, is Yojimbo. The only issue with the film is that so many shots and scenes have been copied by other film makers, it almost looks cliched (until you realise that Kurosawa invented all the cliches).
But for many people, the film that inspires most awe is Seven Samurai. Yes, its long, so you have to give yourself a bit of time, maybe a rainy Sunday afternoon, turning off all distractions, but it will suck you in to that world and I doubt you’ll ever look back. If you are in Region 1, I’d strongly recommend investing in the Criterion version, the quality is superb, it greatly enhances the experience over previous versions.
7 February 2011
I’d agree with you Ugetsu – Ikiru and High & Low are not the films I’d necessarily give to someone new to Kurosawa (well, maybe High & Low), but if the question is “… a film that best shows his recurring themes … Not necessarily his most commercial or the most critically acclaimed.” then I think my choices would stand.
For a person new to Kurosawa who I hoped would click with him quicker, for accessibility, I’d have to say Seven Samurai or Hidden Fortress, maybe Yojimbo. To show off his more contemporary work – it would still be High & Low, I think.
I agree with Ugetsu in thinking that we won’t come to an agreement on this.
To support this point of view, I would recommend Dodesukaden as a contemporary and coloured example.
About recurring themes, I think indeed Ikiru is inescapable, with illness recurring as a major or secondary topic (or The Quiet Duel for a less angelic point of view, but I don’t think this one could make to consensus).
9 February 2011
Garen, yes you are quite right, I didn’t address the question of which one shows his recurring themes as louie asked. I think you are right that Ikiru is maybe a clearer statement of Kurosawa’s themes than any other. Seven Samurai too I think, although that film is so stuffed with Kurosawa themes that it would be hard to know where to start.
Yes, absolutely true about Seven Samurai 🙂 It’s so full of good stuff! It’s also, probably, the most popular and well-known Kurosawa, and I think sometimes we (Kurosawa fans) like to try and recommend something a bit different, just to try and illustrate how much more there is to this great director than this one film – but it deserves its reputation (in my view). I do know people who only like Seven Samurai, and then only for the fighting. They’re missing the best stuff, and, anyway, would probably be a lost cause on the rest of the oeuvre!
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