This is the first in a series of reviews about films showing at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, which runs until October 30 at select cinemas throughout Roppongi.
by Amy Seaman, film correspondent.
Question: Test your cinema knowledge. Who are the people below and what do they have in common? (We’ve given you some big hints.)
Hayao Miyazaki — founder of Studio Ghibli.
Clint Eastwood — Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby.
John Woo — Mission Impossible.
Martin Scorsese — Taxi Driver, Goodfellas.
Answer: Four highly lauded filmmakers and directors, all with a ridiculous amount of talent, skill and creativity… Creativity and skill that they attribute partly to the films of Akira Kurosawa.
So maybe now you’re asking, who is Akira Kurosawa?
Well, even if you’re not a huge Japanese movie buff, you’ve probably heard of him, perhaps indirectly. Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Dreams — those were all by him. A Fistful of Dollars, Babel, The Host, Across the Universe — those were all produced by directors influenced by him.
Kurosawa may have departed this world in 1998, but his spirit lives on, at least in the hearts of the filmmakers that Catherine Cadou — Kurosawa’s faithful French-English-Japanese translator and interpreter — interviewed to produce Kurosawa’s Way, a documentary and semi-tribute to the groundbreaking director. Cadou’s film mainly consists of short snippets of her interviews with 11 prominent directors and producers from all around the world, in which they analyse Kurosawa’s unique narrative and cinematographic style, citing a clear Shakespearean influence and the then-unprecedented camera angles that have now become a ubiquitous part of contemporary cinema.
With a runtime of 52 minutes that is interspersed with clips of some of Kurosawa’s best works, Kurosawa’s Way is a more than worthwhile watch for anyone interested in what makes filmmakers tick, if not just for Martin Scorsese’s humorous recollection of what it was like to work with Kurosawa on set.
Catch Kurosawa’s Way (and a Q&A session with director Catherine Cadou) this Monday, October 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Toho Cinemas in Roppongi Hills. Tickets are available online at www.tiff-jp.net and at the event itself.
** This film is narrated in French, with Japanese and English subtitles **