Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What Radiation Created, One Long Movie Can Destroy

Madadayo
1993, Japan
Akira Kurosawa
DVD

Filmed in 1993, Madadayo was master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s final film, before tragically boring himself to death. What’s worse is that this film also took down uncredited co-director Ishiro Honda, director of Godzilla and the man who brought us an entire genre of Japanese man-in-monster-suit movies. Madadayo is the story of a Japanese university professor who retires at age 60 and then refuses to die for maybe 10 hours of screen time, despite having made his last good film in 1985. I mean taught his last class before the Second World War.

Akira Kurosawa Vs. Ishiro Honda.

There’s a lot of partying in this movie, a lot of enjoying life, and a lot of really trying to be Frank Capra. But the thing about Akira Kurosawa is that I really like it when he’s being Kurosawa, not Capra, because being Kurosawa means being like John Ford but with swords and costumes that look like swaddling clothes. Frankly, if Toshiro Mifune’s not it the movie and somebody doesn’t get shot in the neck with an arrow, I don’t need to see it. Kurosawa, at his best, was a powerful filmmaker who compromised a uniquely Japanese vision for an international accessible hybrid of Western sensibilities and Asian culture. At his worst, however, he’s self-indulgent and tired, as in Madadayo. Still, even then, he proved to be strong enough to kill Godzilla.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

You rock man.
I remember watching some Kurosawa flick on cable and about 2mins in "Where the phuc is Mifune? That guys not Mifune..well, I THINK it's not Mifune...all these b&w japs...no, that's not him. This guys voice is girly. Phuc this shit, it's porn time."

1:10 PM  
Blogger Bob Ult said...

Yea, Mifune is awesome, especially in Yojimbo. Ran is supposed to be Kurosawa's masterpiece...I guess I'm not the only one who found it really boring.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Jerk - it's always porn time. Except for breakfast. Then it is time for Eggo waffles.

Bob - It's all about Throne of Blood. I don't remember if Mifune was in that one, but if he wasn't, he should have been.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Squish said...

Pff whatever, Seven Samurai. Sorry to get all mainstream common but holy.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Prince Prospero said...

Of course Mifune was in Throne of Blood. There's no reason to travel through Cobweb Forest...unless it leads one to Mifune.

Madadayo is an excellent flick, unless you're looking for Bushido Action...nary a sword in sight.

4:44 PM  

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