Film Reviews

Kurosawa (2001)Kurosawa (2001)

Toward the end of his life Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998) said that he resisted the idea of writing an autobiography because he'd only talk about movies: "Take myself, subtract movies, and the result is zero." So, it makes sense that this documentary about the great Japanese director focuses on his works, and much less on his personal life or even his ideas about film. Combining narration from his own writings; interviews with Kurosawa and his two children; commentary from friends, colleagues, and actors (eg, Clint Eastwood); and generous cuts from many of the 30 films he directed, Kurosawa begins with the director's Samurai family history, then tracks his early life, his brother's suicide, his own attempted suicide later in life, and then his death. Many people accused Kurosawa of pessimism, to which he responded, "Mankind is in a desperate situation. How can we break out of it? Let's think about this, that's all I'm saying." In 1990, at the age of 88, the film industry honored Kurosawa with an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. When he died in 1998, 35,000 people attended his memorial. In English and Japanese, with some English sub-titles.