Akira Kurosawa wants you to be patient and focus on humanity.
Kurosawa spent nearly 60 years making movies and changing the way we see movie narration. He was one of the most talented craftsmen of all time. He was someone who cared so much about his stories, camera movements and actors that it is no surprise that there is a very touching humanistic theme hidden beneath most of his films.
But what is a humanist theme, and how has Kurosawa’s legacy of masterpieces flowed into it? As the video says below: “Kurosawa even seems to argue that it is inevitable: that our conscience is ultimately stronger to keep us connected [to the nature of things] as our ego clings to us. “
Check out this visual essay from Like Stories of Old, and let’s talk after the jump.
This oneThe study of the humanistic themes and philosophy of filmmaking found in the beautiful movement compositions of the master of cinema Kurosawa was really fascinating and informative.
In his eulogy for the late filmmaker, the critic Roger Ebert wrote: “[Kurosawa] combines two qualities that you don’t always find in filmmakers. He was a visual stylist and a thoughtful humanist. His films had daring, heady visual freedom and a heart of deep human understanding. He often made films about heroes, but their challenge wasn’t just to win; it was about making the right ethical decision.”
Kurosawa’s legacy was full of masterpieces, including Stray Dog, Rashomon, Ikiru, The Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, The Idiot, Yojimbo, High and Low, Red Beard, Dersu Uzala, Kagemusha, Ran, and many more.
While these films cover different times, people, characters, and social classes, they all deal with a person’s place in this world and their relationship with the people around them. These were struggles Kurosawa faced himself with when he attempted suicide in the early 1970s only to survive and come back to win his second Oscar, receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and say in a 1993 interview: “Take myself, subtract movies and the rest is zero. I hope that everyone who saw this picture will be refreshed and leave the theater with a big smile on their faces. “
Kurosawa’s style is reflected in the director’s deeply rooted belief in the fundamental goodness and dignity of human beings.
That is basically the definition of an existential humanist at its core. His protagonists usually get into impossible situations. Whether it is Shakespeare or Samurai pictures, they fight against insurmountable adversities. But they still believe that they are doing the right thing, not just for them but for the community as a whole.
The films contain the idea of the “human spirit” triumphing. It’s not always about happy endings, but about what each story has to say about human existence.
Let me know your favorite parts of the Kurosawa movies in the comments.