Few directors are more renowned for their craftsmanship than Japanese helmer Akira Kurosawa.
In accepting the Akira Kurosawa lifetime achievement nod at the Tokyo Film Festival, helmer Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov recalled his elation when an idea he had suggested to Kurosawa popped up in Kurosawa’s 1985 period epic “Ran.”
“The joy I felt was indescribable,” Mikhalkov said.
Mikhalkov and fellow Kurosawa award recipient Chen Kaige held a press sesh on Friday to talk up what it meant to them to receive the lifetime achievement, laurel, established by the fest in 2004 to honor the memory of Kurosawa, who died in 1998.
Mikhalkov, best known in the West for “Burnt by the Sun,” a 1994 drama set in the era of Stalinist purges that won the the foreign-language film Oscar, remarked that the honor was “like a dream — and I’m not saying that because I’m jet lagged after a six-hour flight (from Russia).”
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Mikhalkov, who met Kurosawa while the latter was prepping “Ran,” added that the award was special for him because it “honored work that Kurosawa himself would have liked.”
Kaige, winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or for “Farewell My Concubine,” said that although he wasn’t born when Kurosawa’s “Rashomon” was first released, the Japanese helmer “had a huge impact on my generation of filmmakers.”
Kaige also reminisced about meeting Martin Scorsese, who appeared in Kurosawa’s “Rhapsody in August,” in New York and hearing from Scorsese “what a great guy” he was. Unfortunately, though Kurosawa and Kaige were at Cannes the same year “we never met,” the helmer lamented.
Kurosawa’s only daughter, Kazuko Kurosawa, a costume designer and member of the jury that chose the Kurosawa honorees, jokingly remarked that both honored helmers “are tall men (like my father). I can imagine them walking with him shoulder-to-shoulder on the set.”