Beautiful Movies: A Message From Akira Kurosawa

A reverential, uncritical portrait of Akira Kurosawa showcasing his thoughts on the components of moviemaking, "Beautiful Movies" would be a useful teaching aid in film schools.

With:
Narrator: Kazuko Kurosawa.

A reverential, uncritical portrait of Akira Kurosawa showcasing his thoughts on the components of moviemaking, “Beautiful Movies” would be a useful teaching aid in film schools. Kurosawa’s daughter Kazuko narrates docu, which uses interviews done when the late helmer was 80, as well as copious clips and material showing him working on “Rhapsody in August.” Those interested in a more penetrating dissection of helmer’s life and personal demons are referred to the fine BBC doc “Kurosawa.”

“I want to make movies, beautiful movies,” Kurosawa says at one point, “but after close to 60 years I still feel I haven’t fully grasped what film is.” After brief rundown of his early years, docu falls into 10 sections (“The Seed of a Film,” “Screenplays,” “Lighting,” etc.), some merely primers, others containing small nuggets of wisdom. A longtime storyboarder, Kurosawa came to color late in his career and often used reflectors to enhance natural hues — a byproduct of his early years as an artist. He strove for naturalism in acting and remained leery of film schools. “You can’t teach someone talent,” opines the maestro, who worked his way up through the industry.

Beautiful Movies: A Message From Akira Kurosawa

Japan

Production: A Kurosawa Prods./Victor Co. of Japan production. (International sales: Pony Canyon, Tokyo.)

Crew: Camera (color, DV). Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on Japanese Cinema), Sept. 2, 2002. Japanese commentary. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: Narrator: Kazuko Kurosawa.

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