Recently returned myself from the land of the rising sun, Japan is now coming to the NFSA. David Stratton brings Kurosawa to our screens in a personally curated selection of his best works. Having opened with Ran on Wednesday 14 June, (this writer was attending the fantastic launch event of Dendy Cinemas’ newest development) the Japanese jackpot of Kurosawa classics continues Friday 16 June with Throne of Blood at 6:30 pm, followed by Yojimbo at 8:30 pm.
The National Film and Sound Archive will host this cinematic journey through the Kurosawa canon from 14-30 June. The retrospective takes in a sterling selection of his works and one would expect nothing less from cinematic sage Stratton. If you have yet to see Stratton: A Cinematic Life, ensure you watch the expanded mini-series currently screening on ABC (catch it up on iView) – essential viewing on Australian film history. Essential to world cinema history and staggeringly influential in its development is the work of Akira Kurosawa. Filmic flag-bearer for Japan, Kurosawa is still universally lauded as one of the shining lights of cinema and consistently regarded as one of the most important directors of the 20th century alongside other international icons such as Federico Fellini, John Ford, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Goddard.
There is cinematic serendipity to Stratton steering us through these works. The first film he ever so proudly screened at his original film group way back in England, as the budding cinephile we would come to know and love locally, was Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai – an absolute juggernaut of a film at over 3.5 hrs in length. The near religious experience indelibly etched on a young Stratton was, at the time, not so palpably shared by his father, seated uncomfortably in a wooden chair for its duration. Nevertheless, Kurosawa’s influence is indisputable. He left his mark on the mainstream and the cult. His staging of action sequences and battle scenes surely inspired modern-day countrymen like director Takashi Miike, for example, but it was his epic storytelling and scope which would provide a blueprint for directors who would define the late 20th century – Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas.
Akira Kurosawa, even more prolific as a writer, directed over 30 films throughout a career which spanned half a century. Essential Kurosawa brings us seven of his best: Ran, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, Kagemusha*, Seven Samurai, Rashomon (4K)*, and High and Low.
Tickets are $14/$12. Season Pass also available for $80/$75 which includes all sessions and closing night drinks with David Stratton for the screening of Rashomon in stunning 4K on June 30.
Presented in association with the Japan Foundation, Sydney Film Festival and ACMI.
For more information and session times, visit: https://www.nfsa.gov.au/events/essential-kurosawa-selected-david-stratton