Kurosawa’s 100th birthday

Yesterday would have been Akira Kurosawa’s 100th birthday. He was a brilliant and innovative filmmaker from Japan whose iconic movies are as much studies of humanity as they are explorations of light, form and movement. He was a master among masters – so many highly regarded directors cite Kurosawa as an inspiration. Here are three of his films no one should miss:

1. Shichinin no Samurai “Seven Samurai” (1954)

If you’ve never seen a Kurosawa film, you might as well start with the one everyone (but you) has seen. It’s got everything: action, love, sacrifice, all written into a feudal era plot that is still relevant today. This film was famously remade as The Magnificent Seven (1960), also a great film.

2. Rashômon (1950)

This film is known for its use of an innovative story telling technique where multiple people deliver conflicting accounts of an event. This technique has since been used by many others and has become known as “The Rashômon Effect”.

3. Dreams (1990)

One of his later films, this is an intimate telling of short stories based on Kurosawa’s own dreams. At different times they are eerie, sad, hopeful, frightening and comforting. My favorite is the first story about a boy witnessing a kitsune (fox) wedding in the forrest.

On the Kurosawa Wikipedia page, you can read about his reputation as a demanding “Emperor” of a director, and an obsessive perfectionist. After watching his films, it seems that his work only benefitted from these qualities. So aside from the visual and emotional content of his films, I’m also inspired to strive for perfection and expect the best from my own efforts.

in inspiration


  1. Classic filmmaker!

  2. this is my fav of all Kurosawa films. I have DVD of “dream”

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