Wed, May 4th: Ikiru, Kurosawa Akira, 1952, 16h R115

Of all classical Japanese directors, I love Kurosawa best. Of course Western critics will cringe now, because they have decided that he is “too Western” and doesnt fit their bill  of “Japaneseness”. Point is: Kurosawa – in contrast to many of his petit-bourgeois colleagues – knows precisely that this so-called “Japaneseness” is a mumbo-jumbo piece of culturalist crap, thorougly infused  by militarism and capitalist post-war conformism. It is reactionary ideology spiced with feudal accessories. Kurosawa – who was raised in this tradition  –  wasn´t impressed by this upstart aesthetics, but with the many ways people found to resist feudal obedience and submission.  Now this does partly also apply to Ikiru, which is a movie dealing with Kurosawas present – but the contemporariness of Kurosawas work at present paradoxically mainly derives from his period pieces. He describes a feudalism gone awry, reduced to a state of nature and a civil war in which people prey on each other. Diagonal tracking shots with dynamic movements cutting across are trademarks of his bold and flamboyant style. The feudal relations he captures are closely related to conditions faced in many parts of the world nowadays – among others several art worlds – where neofeudalism, patronage, clientelism and syncophantism reign supreme. Kurosawa, as the chronicler of feudal relations, shows the people who never put up with this. His low-life tricksters and itinerant warriors have found ways to navigate the slippery grounds of mercenary service and contracted labour – with grace, elegance and dangerous precision.
I´ll give an introduction to his work Yojimbo later on in May. If you want to download something in the meantime, pick Tsubaki Sanjuro, another great ronin flick. Note: Kurosawa is definitely not a woman (director), but hey, nobody´s perfect.

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One Response to Wed, May 4th: Ikiru, Kurosawa Akira, 1952, 16h R115

  1. sandra capul says:

    Two scenes in Kurosawas film „Ikiru“ depicted the bridge around the playground with the sky behind. This pictures reminded me to Nobuyoshi Araki’s photowork „Skyscapes“.

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