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Live From the Archives: Toshiro Mifune

Image: Toshiro Mifune in The Hidden Fortress (Akira Kurosawa, 1958)

As BAMPFA Film Research Associate Jason Sanders was digging through the archives recently, he made a delightful discovery. He was perusing materials in the BAMPFA Film Library and Study Center, researching the great actor Toshiro Mifune, the subject of BAMPFA’s current film series Samurai Rebellion: Toshiro Mifune, Screen Icon. Among the press clippings, Japanese fan magazines, and other ephemera, he rediscovered this recording of a lively Q&A with the actor during a rare Bay Area appearance in March, 1984.

Speaking after a screening of Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, an affable Mifune shares anecdotes about the creation of that film as well as Seven Samurai and Rashomon; working with Kurosawa; and even memories of his first Toho Studios audition. He also discusses working in Hollywood with Steven Spielberg and John Belushi in Spielberg’s film 1941. Held at the University of California, Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium, the event even draws a joke from the gregarious star. “That’s a difficult question,” he responds at one point; “now I really feel like I’m in the middle of a campus!” Hosted by former Director and Senior Film Curator Edith Kramer and ably translated by longtime BAMPFA associate Beth Carey, the event anchored a multi-film tribute that lasted throughout the month of March that year.

BAMPFA’s current Mifune series, Samurai Rebellion: Toshiro Mifune, Screen Icon, continues through August 30, 2017.