Saturday, October 30, 2010

Akira Kurosawa Scripts Discovered and Free Short Documentary!

Well one the the world's favorite Japanese movie directors, Akira Kurosawa, is back in the news today. I thought I'd use this opportunity to show a short documentary about Akira Kurosawa. 

Three previously undiscovered screenplays by master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa have been uncovered in Japan.  According to Sankei Sports (via The Playlist), Tokyo University Media Professor, Yasuki Hamano found the screenplays while researching for his upcoming book series Akira Kurosawa Archivesin which the scripts will be collected.  Two of the scripts–Kanokemaru no Hitobito (The People of Kanokemaru) and Ashita o Tsukuru Hitobito (The People Who Make Tomorrow)—are for feature films while the third–Yoki na Kojo (The Cheerful Factory)—was for a radio drama.  Hit the jump for details on these projects.

For those who don’t know, Akira Kurosawa is one of the most legendary and influential filmmakers of all time.  His body of work features numerous classics including Seven SamuraiIkiruRashomon, and Ran.  Kurosawa passed away in 1998 at the age of 88.
The People of Kanokemaru centers on “sailors on an old transport ship who overcome stormy weather” and was set to star frequent Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune.  However, the project was stopped before the story was completed.
Here’s a synopsis for The People Who Make Tomorrow (also called Those Who Make Tomorrow) via IMDb:

Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, one of whom boards with the sisters and their parents. The girls’ father argues with them about their strike, but finds his views changing when he himself loses his job.

It’s not unusual for a filmmaker to leave scripts behind when they die.  There’s still unproduced work from Stanley KubrickJohn Hughes, and Alfred Hitchock.  Sometime these get produced as was the case when Steven Spielberg adapted Kubrick’s A.I. or when Tom Tykwer adapted Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Heaven and Danis Tanović adapted the sequel, Hell.
There will never be “new” Kurosawa, but it’s always interesting to explore “What If?”  It’s also fascinating when another director picks up the work of a legend and shows you the amalgamation of style.  The result isn’t always a success, but it almost always worth watching.  I have trouble believing that modern auteurs will simply let these screenplays rest.

It would be a great idea to make one of these into a movie... As long as Silvester Stallone isn't in it.

Now, here's that Kurosawa Documentary that I thought you might enjoy:

Thanks to News on Japan

Thanks to Internet Archives

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