Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa

writer, director, second unit director or assistant director

After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with La légende de judo (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater creative freedom. L'ange ivre (1948) was the first film he made without extensive studio interference, and marked his first collaboration with Toshirô Mifune. In the coming decades, the two would make 16 movies together, and Mifune became as closely associated with Kurosawa's films as was John Wayne with the films of Kurosawa's idol, John Ford. After working in a wide range of genres, Kurosawa made his international breakthrough film Rashomon (1950) in 1950. It won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, and first revealed the richness of Japanese cinema to the West. The next few years saw the low-key, touching Vivre (1952) (Living), the epic Les 7 Samouraïs (1954), the barbaric, riveting Shakespeare adaptation Le trone sanglant (1957), and a fun pair of samurai comedies Le garde du corps (1961) and Sanjuro (1962). After a lean period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, though, Kurosawa attempted suicide. He survived, and made a small, personal, low-budget picture with Dodeskaden (1970), a larger-scale Russian co-production Dersou Ouzala (1975) and, with the help of admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, the samurai tale Kagemusha : L'Ombre du guerrier (1980), which Kurosawa described as a dry run for Ran (1985), an epic adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear." He continued to work into his eighties with the more personal Rêves (1990), Rhapsodie en août (1991) and Madadayo (1993). Kurosawa's films have always been more popular in the West than in his native Japan, where critics have viewed his adaptations of Western genres and authors (William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Maxim Gorky and Evan Hunter) with suspicion - but he's revered by American and European film-makers, who remade Rashomon (1950) as L'outrage (1964), Les 7 Samouraïs (1954), as Les 7 mercenaires (1960), Le garde du corps (1961), as Pour une poignée de dollars (1964) and La forteresse cachée (1958), as La guerre des étoiles (1977).

  • Birthday

    Mar 23, 1910
  • Place of Birth

    Tokyo, Japan

Known For

Awards

70 wins & 32 nominations

Awards of the Japanese Academy
2001
Best Screenplay
Winner - Award of the Japanese Academy
Ame agaru (1999)
1999
Winner - Lifetime Achievement Award
Online Film & Television Association
2000
Creative
Winner - OFTA Film Hall of Fame
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Movies & TV Shows

All
Movies