Akira Kurosawa

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teddyleevin
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Re: Akira Kurosawa

#76 Post by teddyleevin » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:05 am

Has Those Who Make Tomorrow showed up anywhere? A few dozen people have logged it on Letterboxd. Does it show up in retrospectives from time to time?

In the past few months, this review of Kurosawa's TV documentary Song of the Horse was published. I'd be shocked if it ever gets better treatment than this anytime soon, but it would make a great supplement to any potential future Blu if Criterion can get their hands on it. The DVD is still for sale here for $14.95. I just ordered one in time for a personal Kurosawa retrospective to finish off the 5 (really 6.33333) of his films I've not seen and revisit the rest.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Akira Kurosawa

#77 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:01 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:03 pm
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:09 pm
At least Kurosawa's Idiot was only slashed to pieces by the studio (with stupid intertitles to fill in some of the gaps created) -- the cinematography and performances themselves were not mucked up....
Having just seen the Kurosawa film two weeks ago, I'm thinking its mutilation was worse than Ambersons from a simple storytelling perspective. The whole first hour of The Idiot is nearly incomprehensible whereas Ambersons still works as a story even as its missing material that would have explained character motivation, supported plot points, and provided an incredibly rich subtext referencing the industrialization of the town. As clumsy as some of the re-shot footage and re-editing looks, it's nothing compared to the ridiculous editing choices in the Kurosawa film (specifically, I'm talking about the laughable "time-lapse" wipes used to shorten scenes where no apparent time has passed).
(moved by me from the Ambersons thread)

I agree, the editorial slashing (and intertitles) are horrendous butchery (probably worse than what was done to Ambersons overall), but what remains is all "original". Since Dostoevsky's Idiot is one of my very favorite ones, I can't judge how hard it might be to follow Kurosawa's film without having the benefit of familiarity with the source.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Akira Kurosawa

#78 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:34 am

Not having read the original Dostoevsky novel, I was dependent on the Kurosawa film to work on its own. My reaction to the first 60 minutes or so was "oh boy, I'm going to need to read the novel to understand what's going on here", but the last 90 minutes I found particularly effective. With just one viewing, I feel it's obvious that the studio retained as much of the "second" film (when considering this work as being conceived as two feature-length parts) as possible. The footage chosen to remain in the first half feels arbitrary, but the almost desperate nature of the assembly is astounding: two intertitle interruptions after the story is underway to explain large portions of the plot followed by the surprise appearance of a narrator seven or eight minutes into the film to catch the viewer up a bit more (a narrator who then never returns!). The numerous scenes in the first half reduced to snippets with wipe transitions represent the worst editing I've seen in major studio release. Just heartbreaking that this adaptation was treated this way, especially considering it came between two Kurosawa masterpieces (Rashomon and Ikiru).

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Akira Kurosawa

#79 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:50 am

It is mystifying that Shochiku did not retain everything and release this as a 2-parter -- as that was still something being done in Japan -- even for prestigious films (like Imai's The Blue (or Green) Mountains.

The last half of the film is more concentrated and intense -- a perfect match for the novel (which I highly recommend -- except for the long rants towards the end in favor of the Russian Orthodox Church and against the Roman Catholic one). I think the cast is as close to perfect as one could possibly imagine. Chieko Higashiyama (the Tokyo Story mother/grandmother) is really wonderful as the Prince's aunt -- as outstanding as the four principals. I don't know if Mifune was ever better than he was in this...

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