Film - Feature | December 18 | 6:30-7:50 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Akira Kurosawa made his directorial debut in 1943, during the height of World War II and at a time when you werent allowed to say anything worth saying, as he recalled. Back then everyone was saying that the Japanese-style film should be as simple as possible; I disagreed and decided that, since I couldnt say anything because of the censors, I would make a really movie-like movie. Concerning a heros awakening and embrace of a larger ideal (in this case, judo), Sanshiro Sugata has a dazzling cinematic energy that is already pure Kurosawa, complete with novel fight scenes (one done entirely in darkness and shadow, another shot on a windswept, grassy mountainside) and a remarkable control of filmic techniques for capturing emotion, space, and time; one montage of a pair of discarded sandals, for instance, conveys the passing of the seasons with an economy as simple and pure as a line of poetry. Within these eighty minutes lies the foundation of an entire career.
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