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    In a recent thread Vili mentioned seeing Rashomon on film in a theatre-and said “there’s no comparison” or something like that. I wanted to start a thread to discuss the films of Kurosawa that we’ve seen on the big screen.

    I’ve seen Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo and Ran on the big screen. Last month, Ran at the University of Michigan in a fairly clean print-

    I wanted to note that, clearly, many of the scenes had a much more intimate quality on the large screen-seeing into the depths of the shadows in Tsurumaru’s hovel, being a part of the grasses in Hidetora’s wildfower-gathering scene, the enormous scale and visual detail made the experience much more meaningful. I dare say, even seeing the small muscles in tandem with the big sweeping gestures of Nakadai’s acting made the experience that much more intense. Nakadai does a lot of lurch-stepping, then collapsing in this film, so those large gestures benefit by being seen in context of the environment and the smaller visuals.

    Scale is a good part of the experience, and now that our televisions are approaching home-cinema size, we can see more…but the digital copies-excellent though some may be-are not the same experience. (I have no doubt that the digitization of film will continue, and that film is on the way out.)

    What are your thoughts about films you have seen on the big screen v.s. little?



    I think that it was actually Ugetsu who mentioned his preference of seeing films on the big screen. I’m actually a little different in that sense, as I prefer to watch films at home, since it allows me to pause, make tea, rewind, or check things online, if necessary. It may not be the way these films were meant to be watched, but that doesn’t really bother me.

    And I actually quite dislike watching things together with a crowd of strangers.

    But you are right that size does sometimes matter. From Kurosawa’s films, I have seen at least Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Dersu Uzala, Kagemusha, Ran and Dreams on the big screen. Rashomon I must have seen at least four times, and Dreams two or three. Not all of these were actual film copies though, as some were digital projections, I think. But seeing these films on the big screen has made me notice new things.

    As for the digitalisation of film, we really are going through a transformation at the moment. They say that next year, there will be more digital projectors than the traditional 35mm type, and in a few more years’ time the 35mm will become a rarity. At the same time, digital film cameras like the ubiquitous Red Epic have already become the norm, with increasingly fewer film makers these day shooting on celluloid. We are living through some interesting times. (Then again, I guess any era during the past 120 years has been interesting in terms of cinema’s development!)



    We are living through some interesting times. (Then again, I guess any era during the past 120 years has been interesting in terms of cinema’s development!)

    You said, it, Vili ! Digital everything is the game of the 21st century thus far.

    I enjoy seeing films with an audience. Ann Arbor audiences are usually composed of very interesting individuals…and they very often laugh in the right places!!!! There will usually be a smattering of old grey-haired hippies from the ’60’s, U of M doctors and lawyers, Google professionals, Japanese students, and local Japanese Ann Arborite families, Japanese language learners, local ne’er do wells, professors, film students, and assorted middle-class stalwarts. To the degree that I am roused from my internal musings by coughing and movement, a rapt, light-filled face staring at the screen-I enjoy the sense of shared experience.



    I somehow managed to miss this thread earlier. The only Kurosawa films I’ve seen in the theater are Seven Samurai (my second viewing ever) and Ran at the time of its theatrical release. That was the only time I saw Ran.

    I’ve seen Seven Samurai many times since then on VHS and DVD, and while it’s epic enough in scope that it’s probably an advantage to have seen it on a large screen, it holds up well on a reasonably-sized TV. Ran, on the other hand, probably benefits from being seen in the theater. I remember how impressive the insignia and colors on the various factions’ banners were during the battle scenes.

    I don’t mind seeing a movie with other people, but for me, seeing a film in a theater is more geared toward seeing a first-run movie. It’s not as big a deal for me to see a classic movie in a theater. I’d almost rather see it at home. As it is, classic films are rarely shown anywhere closer to me than NYC, which is something of a schlep for me. Renting, or even buying, the DVD is cheaper and less trouble.



    On “ELLO” they posed the DVD versus cinema question, going six for six for cinema: http://www.elllo.org/english/Mixer/04-Cinema.html

    Do you think that the advent of home cinemas, instant-streaming -to-t.v. vids and the “uck” factor of inclement weather mean that we’ll see diminishing returns at the box office for cinema vs home releases?

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