Meticulously crafted, the engrossing docu “Kurosawa’s Way” from the late Japanese master’s longtime French interpreter and subtitler Catherine Cadou makes Akira Kurosawa and his sublime oeuvre come alive through the words of 11 international filmmakers who offer fascinating reflections on his work. Sure to spark a raft of retrospectives, this ideal intro to the helmer’s long career will be programmed by broadcasters and cinematheques worldwide.
Framing the film with her memory-filled narration, Cadou intercuts the passionate talking-head interviews with well-chosen clips from emblematic films and archival photographs. Amusing anecdotes share time with more philosophical and technical observations. Julie Taymor likens his juxtaposition of clown characters and epic themes to the work of William Shakespeare. Alejandro-Gonzales Inarritu cites “Rashomon,” noting that every filmmaker who breaks linear narrative owes him a debt. John Woo requires all his cinematographers to watch “Seven Samurai” to observe his camera placement and use of long-focus lenses. For Bong Joon-ho, “High and Low,” with its masterful use of space, is ever stimulating. Throughout, the esteem and affection in which all the speakers hold Kurosawa shines through, making one wish this tribute were twice as long.