American Cinematheque And UCLA Team Up For Akira Kurosawa Screening Series

With Akira Kurosawa’s 100th birthday just a few months behind us, the celebration of not only the man, but his stunning filmography is still going strong.

Los Angeles readers better be prepared, as Friday is the kick off of a special two-part Akira Kurosawa Centennial Film Festival, brought together by the American Cinematheque and UCLA’s Film & Television Archive.

Part 1 of this festival kicks off Friday, and runs until May 23, and will feature screenings of Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, Ran, Dodes’Ka-Den, Stray Dog, High And Low, Kagemusha, Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and I Live In Fear, all of which are currently available on the Criterion Collection.

This would be a must see for any and all film fans and cinephile, however, at prices of $11.00 for the general public, $9.00 for students and seniors, and $7.00 for members of the American Cinematheque, you really cannot go wrong here. It has been written a billion times as to just how brilliant and influential Kurosawa was and has been, so no price can be put on getting a chance to check out the auteur’s films on the big screen. The festival will take place at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll see as many of these as you can, as all of these films are must see films for anyone with an inkling of an interest in film.

Source: The American Cinematheque (via Sci-Fi Japan)

Friday, May 14 ‘“ 7:30 PM

New 35 mm! RAN, 1985, Rialto Pictures, 160 min. In Akira Kurosawa’s epic and existential samurai/Noh theater rendition of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” a once-merciless and bloodthirsty Lord Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai) leaves his kingdom to his three sons. As Hidetora attempts to enjoy retirement in his twilight years, he is dropped into a nightmarish hell when filial squabbling and betrayal erupts. In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer | Buy Tickets

Saturday, May 15 ‘“ 7:30 PM

THE SEVEN SAMURAI (SHICHININ NO SAMURAI), 1954, Janus Films, 207 min. Director Akira Kurosawa’s character-driven masterpiece about an aging swordsman (Takashi Shimura) who enlists six other warriors-for-hire (among them Toshiro Mifune) to safeguard a remote village plagued by bandits. In Japanese with English subtitles.Trailer | Buy Tickets

Sunday, May 16 ‘“ 7:30 PM

Double Feature: STRAY DOG (NORA INU), 1949, Janus Films, 122 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. When young police detective Toshiro Mifune’s gun is lifted from him on a bus, his frenzied efforts to find the responsible homicidal fugitive leaves the viewer breathless. In Japanese with English subtitles.

HIGH AND LOW (TENGOKU TO JIGOKU), 1963, Janus Films, 142 min. Kurosawa examines social class barriers and the harsh realities of unprincipled capitalism when a shoe magnate (Toshiro Mifune) is challenged with a life-changing decision. Will he or won’t he pay the ransom when a psycho accidentally kidnaps the son of Mifune’s chauffeur instead of Mifune’s own child? In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer | Buy Tickets

Wednesday, May 19 ‘“ 7:30 PM

Double Feature: DODES’KA-DEN, 1970, Janus Films, 140 min. Kurosawa’s fascination with slum-life (as seen in THE LOWER DEPTHS) reemerges here in a swirling episodic portrait of various individuals, many of them children, living in destitution in a garbage dump in Tokyo. In Japanese with English subtitles.

I LIVE IN FEAR (IKIMONO NO KIROKU), 1955, Janus Films, 103 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. An aging foundry owner becomes so obsessed with the fear of nuclear extermination and the wish to flee to South America that his family has him deemed legally incompetent. In Japanese with English subtitles. Buy Tickets

Thursday, May 20 ‘“ 7:30 PM

KAGEMUSHA, 1980, 20th Century Fox, 179 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. When Lord Shingen Takeda is killed by an enemy sharp-shooter, a condemned thief who looks uncannily like Takeda must take the ruler’s place. In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer | Buy Tickets

Friday, May 21 ‘“ 7:30 PM

Double Feature: RASHOMON, 1950, Janus Films, 88 min. A tragic event involving a husband, wife and local bandit (Toshiro Mifune) is recounted by participants and witnesses who yield conflicting, untrustworthy accounts. In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer

THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (KAKUSHI-TORIDE NO SAN-AKUNIN), 1958, Janus Films, 126 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. The basis for George Lucas’ STAR WARS follows a samurai (Toshiro Mifune) as he transports a high-maintenance princess through war-torn lands, accompanied by a pair of bickering peasants. In Japanese with English subtitles. Buy Tickets

Thursday, May 20 ‘“ 7:30 PM

KAGEMUSHA, 1980, 20th Century Fox, 179 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. When Lord Shingen Takeda is killed by an enemy sharp-shooter, a condemned thief who looks uncannily like Takeda must take the ruler’s place. In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer | Buy Tickets

Friday, May 21 ‘“ 7:30 PM

Double Feature: RASHOMON, 1950, Janus Films, 88 min. A tragic event involving a husband, wife and local bandit (Toshiro Mifune) is recounted by participants and witnesses who yield conflicting, untrustworthy accounts. In Japanese with English subtitles.Trailer

THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (KAKUSHI-TORIDE NO SAN-AKUNIN), 1958, Janus Films, 126 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. The basis for George Lucas’ STAR WARS follows a samurai (Toshiro Mifune) as he transports a high-maintenance princess through war-torn lands, accompanied by a pair of bickering peasants. In Japanese with English subtitles. Buy Tickets

Sunday, May 23 ‘“ 7:30 PM

Double Feature: YOJIMBO, 1961, Janus Films, 110 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Toshiro Mifune plays Sanjuro, a shiftless ronin (a samurai without a master) who wanders into a starving village beset by a yakuza gang war. Sanjuro plays the battling sects off against each other and nearly gets himself killed in the process. In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer

SANJURO (TSUBAKI SANJURO), 1962, Janus Films, 96 min. Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune) decides to help a young samurai and his brash cohorts when the samurai’s uncle is framed by a corrupt superintendent. In Japanese with English subtitles. Trailer | Buy Tickets

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