Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mad Films

The fellow above is one Akira Kurosawa born this day 1910, in Tokyo, Japan. I am pretty sure he is the first hero to represent the Far East on this list, which I am not sure is something I should be writing down. However, he is a more than worthy hero for the day, no matter where he called home. His father was a director of a junior high school, and embraced Western culture, and was well off enough to send young Akira to "better" schools. He began his film career as a benshi (a person who provided live narration to silent films), but, in 1936, enrolled in a director's apprentice program. From there the sky was the limit, and the sky he reached upon several occasions. He made several films before 1950's "Rashomon" won him the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the film can be considered one of the first, if not the first, to introduce Japanese cinema to the West. He was known by the nickname Tenno, meaning Emperor for his dictatorial approach to his films. He was a renown perfectionist, that ordered a roof taken off a house because it was "too ugly" to be seen in one shot from a passing train. He knew what he wanted, and by damn he made it happen, for a scene in Rashomon the rain (provided by fire trucks) was not showing up well enough on film to suit him, so he had it dyed with ink in order to achieve the effect of heavy rain. I am sure the actors getting pissed upon by dyed rain were fucking thrilled. He was such a perfectionist that he would edit his own film after shooting, spending hours after the school in the cutting room. I like that, I am a bit of a perfectionist myself (not when it comes to grammar obviously), and if you want me to make a film, then stand where I want you to, say what I tell you too, and do as I say. If you do not like that then piss off, I will find someone who needs the work more. He once demanded a stream be forced to run the wrong way because he did not like the shot he got with it flowing the right direction. Talk about having some guts, demanding that water flow the way he wanted took some guts. His influence can not be underestimated AMC is showing his films all month in celebration of his 100th birthday. He has influenced such directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Sam Peckinpah, George Lucas, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese amongst a host of others. See "The Seven Samuri" a classic film that is one of the best I have laid eyes upon, or "Throne of Blood" with its final scene where the main character had REAL arrows shot at him by expert archers that came with centimeters of his body. That is probably real fear on the actor's face during that scene. So for making "mad" films that are timeless, and serve as an example of how to do it right and his way, Akira Kurosawa (March 23th, 1910-September 6th, 1988, at the age of 88), you are my (209th) hero of the day.

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