Kurosawa at FACT

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

Kurosawa at FACT, City Centre 12 — 26 March 2023 Tickets from £8.00 — Book now

There’s a reason that Akira Kurosawa remains one of the best known Japanese filmmakers, some eighty years on from his debut feature. From bracing crime flicks, to socially-driven dramas and thrusting samurai epics, the director made over thirty films across fifty years, each one infused with a wit and visual style that was distinctively his.

Arguably Kurosawa’s most popular works were alongside star Toshiro Mifune – the pair made fifteen films together – and FACT’s season starts two of their collaborations. First up is 1952’s Venice prize-winning Rashomon (Sun 12 March), in which Mifune stars as a woodcutter who witnesses the ambush and rape of a noblewoman, and the murder of her samurai husband. Hugely praised for its influential structure, the film unfolds though a trial in which different accounts of events raise questions about the nature of objective truth.

Seven Samurai

Next is perhaps Mifune and Kurosawa’s most prominent work,1954’s iconic Seven Samurai (Sun 19 March), in which a village of farmers hire seven ronin (Mifune included) to defend them against a group of marauding bandits. This thrilling epic has reverberated through action cinema ever since, with Sergio Leone notably retooling the scenario for his own classic The Magnificent Seven in 1960.

Lastly, FACT have lined up Kurosawa’s Ran on Sunday 26 March. A singular reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear, rethought and relocated to sixteenth-century Japan, the 1985 film was over a decade in the making. This is one of several of Kurosawa’s dalliances with The Bard, but it is probably the most spectacular example, combining vast, ferocious battle sequences with mournful tragedy.

Kurosawa at FACT, City Centre 12 — 26 March 2023 Tickets from £8.00 Book now

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