Did you know that Akira Kurosawa was born today in 1910? He was an award-winning Japanese filmmaker. His films were not just popular in Japan, but won international awards and introduced Japanese films to the world. Akira Kurosawa is considered one of the most important filmmakers. He directed 30 films including Rashomon, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and Seven Samurai. His films, filmmaking, and storytelling influenced countless other directors; Seven Samurai inspired the movie The Magnificent Seven, The Hidden Fortress inspired George Lucas’ Star Wars.
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Akira Kurosawa’s father, Isamu Kurosawa, was a member of a former samurai family from Akita Prefecture.
Akira Kurosawa had originally planned to be a painter.
As an assistant director, Kurosawa realized that the earnings from script writing were much higher than what he earned as an assistant director. Later he wrote or co-wrote for his own films. He also wrote screenplays for other directors.
Some of Akira Kurosawa’s films were adapted from other works. Throne of Blood is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth; The Lower Depths is based on a play by Maxim Gorky; Ran is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Towards the end of his career, Japanese film studios were unwilling to finance Kurosawa’s elaborate films. Directors and producers from around the world, such as George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and Serge Silberman, often stepped into produce his films.
Praise from other directors include:
Federico Fellini: “the greatest living example of all that an author of the cinema should be”
Francis Ford Coppola: “One thing that distinguishes [him] is that he didn’t make one masterpiece or two masterpieces. He made, you know, eight masterpieces”
Steven Spielberg: “I have learned more from him than from almost any other filmmaker on the face of the earth”
Martin Scorsese: “Let me say it simply: Akira Kurosawa was my master, and … the master of so many other filmmakers over the years.”