Friday, June 10, 2011

Movie Collection Highlights: Kurosawa Films

Yojimbo & Sanjuro: Two Films By Akira Kurosawa: The Criterion CollectionI thought I might take today's typical "review" time to highlight some of the DVD collection we've been amassing at the library. I've made an effort to branch out in some areas of the collection--to get some films in various genres that perhaps some people wouldn't think a university would own. Today's focus? Samurai films. Specifically, Samurai films by Akira Kurosawa, one of Japan's greatest directors. Here's a list of five movies you might want to check out to get a good overview of the basics:
  • Seven Samurai--"A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves." It doesn't get more classic than this film. It's gone on to influence all sorts of movies, and it's one of the best movies out there, hands down.
  • Rashomon--"A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view." This one isn't as much of a straight up Samurai movie, but it's still considered one of the greats.
  • Ran--"An elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him." Samurai meets King Lear. Another Kurosawa classic.
  • Yojimbo--"A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town." More of a light-hearted movie.
  • Sanjuro--"A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent." The follow up to Yojimbo.
So there you have it. Have you seen any of these? Got a favorite? How about another Kurosawa movie I didn't touch on? Or a different samurai film? Do share!

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