Akira Kurosawa was born 101 years ago today. He is a master of cinema and one of my favorites.
Arguably the most celebrated Japanese filmmaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa had a career that spanned from the Second World War to the early nineties and that stands as a monument of artistic, entertainment, and personal achievement. His best-known films remain his samurai epics Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, but his intimate dramas, such as Ikiru and High and Low, are just as searing. The first serious phase of Kurosawas career came during the postwar era, with Drunken Angel and Stray Dog, gritty dramas about people on the margins of society that featured the first notable appearances by Toshiro Mifune, the directors longtime leading man. Kurosawa would subsequently gain international fame with Rashomon, a breakthrough in nonlinear narrative and sumptuous visuals. Following a personal breakdown in the late sixties, Kurosawa rebounded by expanding his dark brand of humanism into new stylistic territory, with films such as Kagemusha and Ran, visionary, color, epic ruminations on modern man and nature.