Akira Kurosawa Film Festival

akira_kurosawa

 

Saturday, November 6 - Saturday, November 20, 2021

Films include: STRAY DOG (1949), RASHOMON (1950), IKIRU (1952), SEVEN SAMURAI (1954), THRONE OF BLOOD (1957), THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (1958), RAN (1985)

Akira Kurosawa is unquestionably the best known Japanese filmmaker in the West. This can perhaps be best explained by the fact that he is not so much a Japanese or a Western filmmaker, but that he is a "modern" filmmaker. Like postwar Japan itself, he combines the ancient traditions with a distinctly modern, Western twist.

PURCHASE A $50 PASS FOR ALL SEVEN MOVIES!!!

Showtimes

Saturday, Nov 6
7:00pm
stray dog still

Driving forward even as the characters wander in circles, Kurosawa's camera is all swift pans and hard curves, one sinewy composition after another

Fernando F. Croce,  CinePassion

... a low key thriller set in the uncertainty and turbulence of post-war Tokyo, part film noir and part social commentary with a hard moral.

Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online

The young Mifune is a marvelous dichotomy, his restless energy checked by a veneer of surface calm: the composed social face and fierce turmoil underneath.

Sean Axmaker, Seanax.com

Media: 
stray dog movie poster
STRAY DOG
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1949
Runtime: 
122 minutes

Murakami (Toshirô Mifune) is a young and inexperienced detective on the Tokyo police force. While riding a crowded bus on a hot summer day, he discovers that his gun has been stolen out of its holster. Reluctant to lose face by reporting the gun missing, Murakami first dives alone into the depths of postwar Tokyo's poverty-stricken slums and criminal underworld, but when the missing gun is implicated in a crime spree, a more experienced detective (Takashi Shimura) lends his expertise.

Showtimes

Tuesday, Nov 9
7:00pm
rashomon movie still

Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon is not only a well-made, well-acted film, it is a fascinating exploration of humanity and storytelling.

Sarah Brinks, Battleship Pretension

Not many movies make such an impact that their names enter into the language. Rashomon is such a movie.

Jonathan F. Richards, Film.com

Unmissable.

Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

Media: 
rashomon movie poster
RASHOMON
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1950
Runtime: 
88 minutes

Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, "Rashomon" is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man's murder and the rape of his wife.

Showtimes

Thursday, Nov 11
7:00pm
ikuru still

A thoughtful, existential meditation about the meaning of life and what constitutes a life well-lived, Ikiru is almost guaranteed to prod the viewer to examine his or her own mortality and ponder how, in the end, the scales will tip.

James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Kurosawa achieves the piercing emotion and poetry of the Italian neorealists, but by opposite means: he doesn't make the camera disappear; instead... he deploys his camera so sharply and unerringly that it seems to take X-rays of the spirit.

Richard Brody, New Yorker

Moving without being sentimental, Kurosawa reaches the sort of emotional depths akin to early Frank Capra films, where cynicism was pushed aside by the integrity of the human spirit.

Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA.com

Media: 
ikiru movie poster
IKIRU
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1952
Runtime: 
143 minutes

Mr. Watanabe suddenly finds that he has terminal cancer. He vows to make his final days meaningful. His attempts to communicate his anguish to his son and daughter-in-law lead only to heartbreak. Finally, inspired by an unselfish co-worker, he turns his efforts to bringing happiness to others by building a playground in a dreary slum neighborhood. When the park is finally completed, he is able to face death with peaceful acceptance.

Special Admission

$10; includes a $2 service fee

Available in advance or at the door.

Showtimes

Saturday, Nov 13
7:00pm
seven samurai still

The value of [Seven Samurai] depends not upon its spectacular effects but upon the basic human truths that are forged from the suffering of its characters and buried like spear-points Into the spectator's heart.

R.H. Gardner, Baltimore Sun

Responding to his sensitive, knowing direction, the actors have given inspired performances. Revealed in [Seven Samurai] is Kurosawa's talent for putting violent action on the screen, making it terrifically exciting to audiences.

Wanda Hale, New York Daily News

The outstanding feature of the picture is the photography. At times the camera angles are sensational.

George Yoshinaga, Shin Nichibei/New Japanese American News

Media: 
seven samarai movie poster
SEVEN SAMURAI
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1954
Runtime: 
207 minutes

A samurai answers a village's request for protection after he falls on hard times. The town needs protection from bandits, so the samurai gathers six others to help him teach the people how to defend themselves, and the villagers provide the soldiers with food. A giant battle occurs when 40 bandits attack the village.

Special Admission

$10; includes a $2 service fee

Available in advance or at the door.

Showtimes

Tuesday, Nov 16
7:00pm
throne of blood still

No stage production could match Kurosawa's Birnam Wood, and, in his final framing of the hero -- a human hedgehog, stuck with arrows -- he conjures a tragedy not laden with grandeur but pierced, like a dream, by the absurd.

Anthony Lane, New Yorker

Akira Kurosawa's remarkable 1957 restaging of Macbeth in samurai and expressionist terms is unquestionably one of his finest works -- charged with energy, imagination, and, in keeping with the subject, sheer horror.

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Throne Of Blood defeats categorisation. It remains a landmark of visual strength, permeated by a particularly Japanese sensibility, and is possibly the finest Shakespearean adaptation ever committed to the screen.

Derek Malcolm, Guardian

Media: 
throne of blood movie poster
THRONE OF BLOOD
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1957
Runtime: 
110 minutes

Returning to their lord's castle, samurai warriors Washizu (Toshirô Mifune) and Miki (Minoru Chiaki) are waylaid by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit's prophecy comes true, Washizu's scheming wife, Asaji (Isuzu Yamada), presses him to speed up the rest of the spirit's prophecy by murdering his lord and usurping his place. Director Akira Kurosawa's resetting of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" in feudal Japan is one of his most acclaimed films.

Special Admission

$10; includes a $2 service fee

Available in advance or at the door.

Showtimes

Thursday, Nov 18
7:00pm
the hidden fortress still

Kurosawa's calculations pay off in thrills and clever character delineation. The trials of the journey impose heroic imperatives and bonds of loyalty that ennoble even the meanest characters.

Gary Arnold, Washington Post

By introducing comedy into the mixture and telling the tale from an atypical perspective, Kurosawa has differentiated The Hidden Fortress from nearly every similar feudal era Japanese epic ever committed to the screen. This is a masterpiece.

James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Kurosawa stages every scene with an eye toward screen-filling spectacle, [...] But he's also concerned with the characters' journey, and how they change-or don't-along the way.

Keith Phipps, The Dissolve

Media: 
the hidden fortress movie poster
THE HIDDEN FORTRESS
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1958
Runtime: 
126 minutes

Japanese peasants Matashichi (Kamatari Fujiwara) and Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) try and fail to make a profit from a tribal war. They find a man and woman whom they believe are simple tribe members hiding in a fortress. Although the peasants don't know that Rokurota (Toshirô Mifune) is a general and Yuki (Misa Uehara) is a princess, the peasants agree to accompany the pair to safety in return for gold. Along the way, the general must prove his expertise in battle while also hiding his identity.

Special Admission

$10; includes a $2 service fee

Available in advance or at the door.

Showtimes

Saturday, Nov 20
7:00pm
ran movie still

Ran takes film spectacle to new heights. Kurosawa continues not only to extend his own powers but to exploit new technical advances.

David Robinson, Times (UK)

One can hardly watch Ran without feeling a sense of prophecy fulfilled. The tragic results displayed in this film suggest we all need to discern more deeply exactly who we can trust to lead us.

Ed Travis, Hollywood Jesus

Kurosawa may not be Shakespeare, but with images like these, he gets at something about the horror -- and hopelessness -- of being a man that is peculiarly his own.

Paul Attanasio, Washington Post

Media: 
ran movie poster
RAN
Director: 
Akira Kurosawa
Country: 
Japan
Year: 
1985
Runtime: 
162 minutes

At the age of seventy, after years of consolidating his empire, the Great Lord Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai) decides to abdicate and divide his domain amongst his three sons. Taro (Akira Terao), the eldest, will rule. Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu), his second son, and Saburo (Daisuke Ryu) will take command of the Second and Third Castles but are expected to obey and support their elder brother. Saburo defies the pledge of obedience and is banished.

Special Admission

$10; includes a $2 service fee

Available in advance or at the door.