Akira Kurosawa Centennial

6/4/10 to 8/29/10

A master by any measure, Kurosawa exploited the epic possibilities of the big screen while remaining grounded in a fundamental humanism. This thirty-film retrospective is a chance to explore the full range of his fifty-year career.

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  • Ran, August 21, 22

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Past Films

  • Madadayo

    • Sunday, August 29 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1993). Kurosawa's final film looks back on the life of a beloved elderly teacher and his students. “Fully engaged and alive, beautifully written, acted, and filmed, meditative, benevolent, humorous; one of the director's greatest works.”-Chicago Tribune (134 mins)

  • Dreams

    • Saturday, August 28 5:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1990). Dreams come to life in Kurosawa's magical collection of tales drawn from his own dreams. “At once buoyant and extraordinarily passionate, it has the feel of an urgent message to the living and the dead.”-Village Voice (160 mins)

  • Rhapsody in August

    • Wednesday, August 25 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1991). Four teens visit their grandmother in Nagasaki, and try to comprehend her (and the city's) memories of the atomic blast, in Kurosawa's eloquent, gentle reflection on war and its aftereffects. “The master is as vigorous and complex as ever.”-N.Y. Times (98 mins)

  • Ran

    • Sunday, August 22 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1985). See August 21. (160 mins)

  • Ran

    • Saturday, August 21 5:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1985). King Lear in feudal Japan, with Tatsuya Nakadai as the lord who divides his kingdom among his three sons, with disastrous results. “A majestic piece of filmmaking, a lush tapestry of lordly tableaux, ruthless betrayals, and flaming carnage.”-Village Voice (160 mins)

  • The Quiet Duel

    • Thursday, August 19 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1949). In one of his most delicate, introspective roles, Toshiro Mifune plays a dedicated doctor who contracts a deadly disease during the Manchurian War. (110 mins)

  • Dersu Uzala

    • Wednesday, August 18 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1972). A grizzled native hunter teaches a Russian surveyor how to survive in-and respect-the Siberian wilderness in Kurosawa's environmental epic. “It seems that Kurosawa has created this magnificent film as an elegy to our human heritage.”-Peter Coyote (165 mins)

  • Seven Samurai

    • Tuesday, August 17 7 PM

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1954). See July 17. (208 mins)

  • Kagemusha

    • Sunday, August 15 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1980). George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola helped produce Kurosawa's big-budget return to epic samurai filmmaking, involving a lord and his double (both played by Tatsuya Nakadai) trying to hold a kingdom together. “Probably the director's most elaborate, awesome film . . . majestic, stately, cool, almost abstract.”-N.Y. Times (160 mins)

  • Dodes'ka-den

    • Wednesday, August 11 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1970). Kurosawa's first color film was also his most personal, an expressionist look at the lives of several Tokyo slum dwellers. Music by Toru Takemitsu. (144 mins)

  • High and Low

    • Saturday, August 7 5:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1963). A kidnapping becomes a moral dilemma for executive Mifune in “one of the best detective thrillers ever filmed. . . . Both spine-tingling and compassionate.”-N.Y. Times (143 mins)

  • The Idiot

    • Wednesday, August 4 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1951). Kurosawa faithfully remakes Dostoevky's The Idiot in wintry Hokkaido, with Toshiro Mifune and Setsuko Hara bringing to life this tale of a pure soul destroyed by a faithless world. “Probably the only Dostoevsky adaptation which carries something of the complexity and dramatic intensity of the original.”-Noel Burch (166 mins)

  • Sanjuro

    • Saturday, July 31 6:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1962). Kurosawa's spirited follow-up to Yojimbo finds Mifune leading a band of comically inept samurai. “A superb parody.”-Donald Richie (96 mins)

  • Scandal

    • Saturday, July 31 8:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1950). A motorcycle-riding artist and a pure-at-heart popular singer are targeted by unscrupulous scandalmongers in this entertaining indictment of journalistic “ethics,” inspired by Warner Bros. muckrakers and starring Toshiro Mifune and Yoshiko “Shirley” Yamaguchi. (104 mins)

  • One Wonderful Sunday

    • Wednesday, July 28 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1947). A young couple encounters the pleasures-and dangers-of Tokyo in Kurosawa's city-film, inspired by Frank Capra, D. W. Griffith, and Murnau's Sunrise, and one of the first films to capture the essence and energy of a newly emerging postwar Tokyo. (108 mins)

  • Yojimbo

    • Saturday, July 24 6:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1961). Mifune is a sly, amoral mercenary looking to make a fistful of ryo in a lawless town in Kurosawa's tongue-in-cheek anti-epic, which inspired A Fistful of Dollars. “A visually faultless and highly sophisticated satire on violence and human weakness.”-Sight and Sound (110 mins)

  • No Regrets for Our Youth

    • Wednesday, July 21 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1946). Ozu favorite Setsuko Hara stars in this powerful character study of a woman fighting for her rights-and life-before, during, and after the war. Kurosawa's only film with a female lead. (110 mins)

  • Seven Samurai

    • Saturday, July 17 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1954). A ragtag group of samurai band together to protect a village from bandits in Kurosawa's masterpiece, often cited as one of the ten best films ever made. Seeing it on the big screen, who's to argue? (208 mins)

  • The Most Beautiful and The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

    • Wednesday, July 14 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1944). A semi-documentary drama of life among women factory workers (“not a major work, but the one dearest to me,” said Kurosawa). With the lively samurai adventure The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail, “a small triumph of inventiveness and resourcefulness.”-TCM (144 mins)

  • Stray Dog

    • Saturday, July 10 8:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1949). Toshiro Mifune is a driven detective in Kurosawa's bravura Tokyo noir. “A bona fide masterpiece.”-Time Out (122 mins)

  • Sanshiro Sugata

    • Wednesday, July 7 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1943). A young man learns dedication and discipline in life-and judo-in Kurosawa's debut film, “a must for Kurosawa admirers.”-L.A. Times. With Sanshiro Sugata II. In the sequel, he battles foreign thugs and two Noh-esque Japanese brothers. (163 mins)

  • The Hidden Fortress

    • Wednesday, June 30 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1958). Toshiro Mifune swashbuckles his way through this supremely entertaining mythic adventure, the plot inspiration for Star Wars. (134 mins)

  • Ikiru

    • Sunday, June 20 7:15 pm

    In Kurosawa's humanist masterpiece, an ordinary civil servant discovers what it means to live. This Japanese Everyman was perhaps Takashi Shimura's greatest role. (143 mins)

  • The Bad Sleep Well

    • Saturday, June 19 6:30 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1960). Kurosawa charts corporate evil as a company is torn from within by scandal, greed, and lust. “Enron meets Hamlet.”-Film Forum. “Better than Shakespeare.”-Francis Ford Coppola (148 mins)

  • The Lower Depths

    • Thursday, June 17 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1957). Filmed on only one set, Kurosawa's adaptation of the famous Gorky play throws together some memorable characters-raucous thief, oversexed landlady, gambler, prostitute, samurai-in a teeming Tokyo flophouse. (125 mins)

  • I Live in Fear

    • Sunday, June 13 7:35 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1955). Toshiro Mifune gives a daring performance as an eccentric patriarch with a neurotic fear of the atomic bomb. “The final effect is overwhelming, and perhaps Kurosawa's most sweeping statement on the human condition.”-Film Forum (100 mins)

  • Red Beard

    • Saturday, June 12 7:15 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1965). Toshiro Mifune plays a gruff but charitable nineteenth-century doctor in this humanist epic, his last film with Kurosawa. (185 mins)

  • Throne of Blood

    • Sunday, June 6 6:50 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1957). Kurosawa's Noh-influenced version of Macbeth is “the most brilliant and original attempt ever made to put Shakespeare on screen.”-Time. The towering Toshiro Mifune is paired with the legendary Isuzu Yamada in “a partnership of titans.”-Film Forum (107 mins)

  • Rashomon

    • Friday, June 4 7:00 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1950). Visual proof of the relativity of truth, Rashomon is “one of the most brilliantly constructed films of all time, a monument to Kurosawa's greatness, and a landmark in film history.”-James Monaco (88 mins)

  • Drunken Angel

    • Friday, June 4 8:50 pm

    Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1948). Doctor meets tubercular gangster (Toshiro Mifune) in the slums of postwar Japan in this noirish tale, an “effective and searching view of contemporary Japanese life.”-Variety (98 mins)