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November 3rd, 2003

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04:30 am

Watched Seven Samurai again tonight with two friends who'd never seen it (or, indeed, any Kurosawa films).

Amazing. This film just gets better every time I see it. It's startling to think that it'll be a half-century old next year: it feels vibrant and modern and not at all like a film of its time. And it just flies by: it's the fastest three-and-a-half hours of story ever.

Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2003 03:41 pm (UTC)

It's been too long

too long since I watched any Kurosawa. I've seen Ran, which came up in conversation yesterday as I played Shogun with invader_haywire and some other guys.

I haven't seen Seven Samurai - thanks for reminding me, it'll have to go on the theoretical list in my head.

hmm... wondering if kadnkadnk would like it.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2003 06:00 pm (UTC)

Re: It's been too long

Compared to Ran, Seven Samurai is much more low-key and "realistic". It's not as formal an epic as Ran: the shots are just as beautifully composed as in the latter film, but not in as severe or symmetrical a fashion. And the editing runs more to montage than to the long static takes used in Ran.

The characters in Seven Samurai are much more laid-back and modern and appealing: Ran, like most of Kurosawa's later films, tends towards a sort of formalised Noh stiffness in the acting style. (Plus, the older film stars both Takashi Shimura and Toshirô Mifune, the best two Kurosawa actors ever.)

Oh, and Seven Samurai is also shot in black-and-white Academy ratio (1.37:1) instead of colour and widescreen.

As to whether kadnkadnk would like it... did she like The Magnificent Seven? 'Cos if so, this is the original (and far superior IMO). And if she didn't like TMS, well, she still might like SS: there's just very little wrong with it. :-)
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2003 07:02 pm (UTC)
I have an Akira Kurosawa wishlist on one of my TiVos. Goodness. :-)

IFC has Samurai Saturdays, and lately they've shown some of his films - like Yokimbo and Sanjuro. I forget if The Hidden Fortress was his or not, still a neat film.

Someday I mean to watch The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven back to back...
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2003 07:16 pm (UTC)
I forget if The Hidden Fortress was his or not

It's one of his. Full list from IMDb.

Someday I mean to watch The Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven back to back...

That's a fun idea for a double-bill, but I'd suggest you prepare to be a little disappointed in the second film. (It's fun in its own right, but I don't think it stands close comparison with the original.)

Could be worse, though: you could watch Seven Samurai and The 13th Samur-... uh... Warrior. Which will really give you an appreciation for the strengths of the older film. :-)

A double-bill that does work well for me is Yojimbo with Fistful of Dollars, its Western remake. They're both great movies, and each benefits from being seen with the other. (I've not seen Last Man Standing, so can't comment on its worth as a second Yojimbo remake.)

Oh, and for the record: A Bug's Life is arguably based — at least its basic plot/setup — upon Seven Samurai, too. :-)

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