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Kurosawa (2000)

Akira Kurosawa , Sam Shepard , Adam Low  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Akira Kurosawa, Sam Shepard, Paul Scofield, James Coburn, Clint Eastwood
  • Directors: Adam Low
  • Writers: Adam Low
  • Producers: Anthony Wall, Jac Venza, Junko Tsunashima, Margaret Smilow, Peter Grilli
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Wellspring
  • DVD Release Date: April 23, 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YUQ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,434 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kurosawa" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 100 minutes of bonus interview footage
  • Kurosawa filmography

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Originally broadcast on PBS, the superlative Kurosawa is likely to remain the definitive documentary on the life and work of Japanese film master Akira Kurosawa. The film follows the conventional documentary approach of a chronology of Kurosawa's career, with requisite film clips and interviews with many of Kurosawa's surviving collaborators and family members. Western admirers like James Coburn, Clint Eastwood, and Japanese film scholar Donald Richie are also interviewed, and director Adam Low provides a more contemplative appreciation of Kurosawa's life and work. Enhanced by Sam Shepard's straightforward narration and Paul Scofeld's evocative readings from Kurosawa's elusive autobiography, the film functions as both honorable tribute and touching retrospective, especially when the surviving crewmembers of Rashomon are assembled for a 50-year reunion filled with anecdotes and insiders’ perspective. All in all, this is must-see viewing for any lover of film. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

From Ran to Madadayo, Akira Kurosawa set new boundaries for world cinema, producing a string of masterpieces unrivaled in motion picture history. In the first major documentary to be made since his death in 1998, Kurosawa's family and colleagues are joined by critics from Japan and America to produce a comprehensive assessment of his achievement. Featuring clips from Kurosawa's greatest films: Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, Kagemusha, Ran, Dreams, and Madadayo. Includes exclusive interviews with James Coburn and Clint Eastwood along with production manager Teruyo Nogami, actresses Machiko Kyo and Isuzu Yamada, actor Tatsuya Nakadai, director Kon Ichikawa, and more. 115 minutes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Akira Kurosawa directed my favorite film, "Shichinin no samurai." When I was teaching Honors World Literature I would show the film to my students in between their reading of Homer's "Iliad" and Cervantes's "Don Quixote" as part of a trilogy on the nature of heroism. Whenever I would teach a course on movies I would screen "Rashomon," and if I taught "King Lear" to a class they would see "Ran." If I had ever gotten around to teaching "MacBeth" I would have shown them "Throne of Blood." Consequently, I have taken advantage of any and all opportunities to advance the cinematic gospel of Akira Kurosawa.
This 2001 documentary about "Kurosawa" combines a chronological look at the director's life offering biographical insights into his films with some critical explications of his work. The latter is relatively limited and while I would have liked to have seen more cinematic analysis we do have a whole series of Criterion Edition DVDs of Kurosawa's film with superb commentary tracks by knowledgeable film critics. There are also almost 100 minutes of additional filmed interviews provided, arranged thematically. What this documentary offers that uniquely fills in the gap in any such home film appreciation course are some direct comparisons of scenes from Kurosawa films and their American versions (e.g., "Yojimbo" and "A Fistful of Dollars"). Similarly, there are some juxtapositions of key scenes from Kurosawa films with images from his life as well as the paintings he did while preparing for film projects.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a film genius March 28, 2002
Format:DVD
I saw this on PBS' Great Performances. This documentary is about film genius Akira Kurosawa. The documentary charts Akira Kurosawa's early life in pre-WWII Japan to the end of his life. Kurosawa brought Japanese cinema to a world wide audience. I recommend this DVD for anyone who is a Akira Kurosawa fan. Plus the DVD has 100 minutes of bonus interview footage not seen on the PBS program and Kurosawa filmography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary on a great director April 21, 2002
Format:DVD
PBS did an outstanding job in putting this documentary together. It covers his entire life and career and includes scenes from some of his lesser known and much more difficult to find films. The documentary includes many interview pieces with Kurosawa himself which gives you some added insight into what the man was really like. Also, there are comments from noted Japanese film historian Donald Richie. As a Kurosawa fan watching this on PBS when it aired, the hour and forty five minutes seemed like about half an hour. It is an excellent documentary about perhaps the greatest director of the twentieth century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nostaligic, brief glimpse of a genius February 21, 2003
Format:DVD
"Kurosawa" is a well-produced, rather easy going documentary of a master film maker. It reads like a fan letter to Kurosawa, each moment heaping praise on the director, while leading the viewer through a biographical timeline of his life. An enjoyable piece to watch.
That being said, I was disappointed in the depth of the documentary. There is little discussion of Kurosawa's impact on film, his innovations and, most importantly, what he was trying to achieve with his films and his success in achieving that goal. Kurosawa was a film maker with a definitive focus, seeking no less than to change the world for the better using films as his medium. This message is never really mentioned, which surprised me as it is so crucial to understanding his films. Few, if any, of his films are examined critically and little insight is gained as to why Kurosawa is such an important artist of the 20th century.
Even with its lack of depth, "Kurosawa" makes for a fine, nostalgic documentary. Clips of Kurosawa at work on his films are enjoyable, as is the reunion of the "Roshomon" workers and the interviews with a few former Kurosawa-film beauties. The presentation of artifacts, such as the Noh mask used for "Throne of Blood" and the Ryokan in Kyoto where Kurosawa wrote his screen plays, adds a human element to the piece.
The DVD adds to the missing depth with a good length of interviews of varying interests, each focusing on personal reminiscences of Kurosawa. The Suntory whisky easter eggs are quite charming, and a nice touch. This is why we have DVDs.
Should have been longer, should have been deeper, but still good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TERRIFIC DOCUMENTARY HONORS KUROSAWA'S GENIUS July 18, 2002
Format:DVD
"KUROSAWA" is a thoughtful and artistic overview of the epic master Akira Kurosawa who set new boundaries for world cinema and created a string of masterpieces unrivaled in motion picture history.
Included are provocative, intelligent and perceptive interviews with Kurosawa's family, colleagues and critics from Japan and America. The observations create a surprisingly comprehensive assessment of his achievements.
Carefully selected clips from his greatest films, including "Rashomon," "Seven Samurai," "Throne of Blood," "Yojimbo," "Kagemusha," "Ran", "Dreams" and "Madadayo" greatly enhance this inclusive videography.
This is the first major documentary on the legendary filmmaker since his death in 1998. There are over 100 minutes of bonus footage, including 90 minutes of interviews, Easter Eggs, a Kurosawa filmography, and weblinks. Worth owning for the devoted videophile.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I love Kurosawa but I dislike this Documentary
Almost the entire time, the narrator reads directly from Kurosawa's "Something Like an Autobiography" making this 'documentary' more like a quick synopsis of Kurosawa's book. Read more
Published on December 2, 2011 by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Akira Kurosawa: Twelve directors in one!
Keeping into acount we are just in the first centenial of this master of masters, it's like an imperative to maek an approach respect this hypertalented director. Read more
Published on April 3, 2010 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into the life and working habit of Kurosawa
There are two parts to this DVD: the main part that tells of the
life story of Kurosawa and highlights of his filmography, and the
bonus materials that consist of... Read more
Published on January 12, 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars A personal biography, not enough on the films
I had only seen two Kurosawa movies (Ran and Seven Samurai) before I saw this documentary, and I was interested to learn more. Read more
Published on December 9, 2003 by SPM
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star biography -- 2 Star Look at his films
Kurosawa reaches for great heights with Sam Shepherd narrating the body and Paul Scofield acting as the voice of Kurosawa's autobiography. Read more
Published on April 10, 2003 by "johntchance"
4.0 out of 5 stars A selective analysis of Kurasawa, amazing none-the-less.
This recent PBS documentary gives a great insight into the director's life; in particular his childhood, and how many of these early experiences were the stimulus that drove his... Read more
Published on August 7, 2002 by R. L. Price
4.0 out of 5 stars A great documentary piece
Casual fans who have never seen a Kurosawa picture should have a look at this well-shot, well-organized DVD. Read more
Published on May 13, 2002 by Victor Wong
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