Kagemusha

BAMPFA Student Committee Pick

featuring

Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kota Yui,

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Unable to secure funding for this samurai epic, Akira Kurosawa channeled key scenes from the film into beautifully rendered, intricate paintings; by showing or selling these paintings to investors and interested parties (including George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, who helped the director gain Hollywood studio support), he was finally able to raise enough money to film this tale of a king, his double, and the scheming and warfare of feudal Japan. Tatsuya Nakadai is both a king who wishes to keep his kingdom (and those he’s conquered) united and his double, a petty thief rescued from the gallows to live as his kagemusha (shadow warrior). Filled with fascinating juxtapositions of stillness and movement, madness and calm, Kagemusha is a work of visual poetry on an unmatched scale, with Kurosawa literally soaking the landscape (and his extras) in pools of red, purple, yellow, and green. It is, as scholar Stephen Prince wrote, “painting in motion.”

Jason Sanders
FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Masato Ide
Cinematographer
  • Takao Saito
  • Masaharu Ueda
Language
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 160 mins
Source
  • Criterion Pictures/20th Century Fox