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At the Movies

Michael Wood: Kurosawa, 22 February 2007

Yojimbo 
directed by Akira Kurosawa.
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... masterless samurai. The time is 1860, pretty late for samurai in general, and the film is Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). The Criterion Collection issued a DVD version of this film in 1999, along with its sequel Sanjuro: yojimbo means ‘bodyguard’, and Sanjuro is the Mifune character’s name. Doesn’t seem long ago, and the prints ...

Homage to Satyajit Ray

Salman Rushdie, 8 March 1990

Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye 
by Andrew Robinson.
Deutsch, 412 pp., £17.95, November 1989, 0 233 98473 9
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... I can never forget the excitement in my mind after seeing it,’ Akira Kurosawa said about Satyajit Ray’s first film, Pather Panchali (The Song of the Little Road), and it’s true: this movie, made for next to nothing, mostly with untrained actors, by a director who was learning (and making up) the rules as he went along, is a work of such lyrical and emotional force that it becomes, for its audiences, as potent as their own most deeply personal memories ...

Jungle Book

John Pym, 21 November 1985

Money into Light 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 241 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 571 13731 8
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... it will doubtless be accompanied by A.K., Chris Marker’s documentary on its veteran director Akira Kurosawa. The plum documentary on the toils of film-making remains, however, Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams, a record of the Amazonian shoot of Fitzcarraldo (in an attempt to bring Caruso to the Indians, a possessed white man decides to haul a river ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths, 28 January 2010

... It is indeed a look given. One person who may have noticed it was a young Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa’s tenth film as director, Stray Dog (1949), is a Simenon-like thriller about a young detective, Murukami (Toshiro Mifune), whose gun goes missing. With some help from the older and wiser Sato ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘A Fistful of Dollars’, 26 April 2018

... the distancing, all-American fantasy. To start with, A Fistful of Dollars is an elegant remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). It was shot in Spain, with a large contingent of Italian actors. There are Germans playing Mexicans and Americans, and the only American here is Clint Eastwood, a Westerner to be sure, born in San Francisco and a graduate ...

Unlike Kafka

Amit Chaudhuri, 8 June 1995

The Unconsoled 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 535 pp., £15.99, May 1995, 9780571173877
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... to a Japanese writer, Ishiguro, and to his mentors, the Japanese filmmakers; not the flamboyant Kurosawa, but the equally gifted Ozu. Ishiguro’s first two novels were profoundly cinematic in their technique: the subtle shifts of light – the medium out of which, and into which, cinema is created – were interwoven deeply, in these novels, with their ...

Smilingly Excluded

Richard Lloyd Parry: An Outsider in Tokyo, 17 August 2006

The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 
by Donald Richie, edited by Leza Lowitz.
Stone Bridge, 494 pp., £13.99, October 2005, 1 880656 97 3
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... acquaintances, followed by their professions. The first page alone includes Akihito (emperor), Akira (barboy), Tadashi Asami (tattooed man), John Ashbery (poet), Richard Avedon (photographer), Tamasaburo Bando (kabuki actor), Cecil Beaton (photographer/designer) and Truman Capote (author). He arrived in Tokyo at a time when Mount Fuji could be seen from ...

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