Tag: Akira Kurosawa

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** Sanjuro (1962)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “This is a story that could have been so easily tossed off and dismissed for some quickie, genre fun.  But Kurosawa turns it into a living, breathing story with very real consequences for its very real people.”

The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

Sanjuro (Toho, R-1968). Italian 2 - Folio (39" X 55")

“You’re too sharp. That’s your trouble. You’re like a drawn sword. Sharp, naked without a sheath. You cut well. But good swords are kept in their sheaths.”

Martin Scorsese is probably my favourite film maker of all time.  I write about him here whenever I get the chance, and my last year of uni was basically just an excuse to write 25,000 words about a handful of his movies.  So when Scorsese praises someone, I listen.  Of Akira Kurosawa, Marty said, “The term ‘giant’ is used too often to describe artists.  But in the case of Akira Kurosawa, we have one of the rare instances where the term fits.”  I knew Kurosawa was a serious cinematic heavyweight long before I read this, but Scorsese’s comment was a much delayed boot in the ass to make me watch more of the Japanese master.  Which I did, with Sanjuro.

Believing that their Lord Chamberlain (Yunosuke Ito) has indulged in a bit of the ol’ corruption, nine young samurai meet in secret in a shrine after sharing their suspicions with the clan’s Superintendent.  Resting in an adjacent room, the masterless Ronin samurai Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) overhears their dilemma emerges to let them know what he sees as plainly obvious.  It’s not the Chamberlain who’s corrupt, but the Superintendent.  A theory proven correct when the Superintendent’s men surround the shrine.  Sanjuro hides the samurai and the attackers leave. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** High and Low (1963)

The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.

High 1

“Usually I waste no love on the rich.”

There are only two Japanese directors I can name off the top of my head. One is Hayao Miyazaki, who is responsible for pretty much every animated Japanese movie to have broken through in English speaking countries. Then other is Akira Kurosawa, who is responsible for… Well, that’s just the thing. As aware as I am of his existence and importance in the history of cinema, as I began to write this review, I realised I know very little about his work, and why it’s important. I’ve seen a few of his movies here and there, but never enough to get sense of who he was as film maker. So this year, I’m gonna use Foreign Language Weekends to fill this hole in my move nerd credentials. Starting with High and Low.


Shoe manufacturing executive Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) has gathered his co-executives to his apartment. Gongo is worried about the slipping quality of their product and proposes high expenditures now that will see greater profits in the future. But his short sighted colleagues want the easy money now, so they leave, letting Gongo know that he will be voted out of the company the next day. But Gongo is one step ahead of them. In recent months, he has secretly bought up enough stock to now be the majority share holder. All he needs to do is pay off the men who leant him the money to buy the stocks, and full control of the company is his. (more…)