Seven Samurai Rashomon Ran 4 Kurosawa was a true humanist This book isn t an explanation of an artist s theories or an explication of his films just a simple account of the memories of a very full and beautiful life Yet Kurosawa never ignores his faults either He just tells his story like it is Sometimes he s so emotional, he makes me emotional just reading his earnestness, here about his directing mentor, Yama san At the party celebrating completion of Tojuro s Love, Mrs Yamamoto came and spoke to me My husband was very happy He said Kurosawa can write scripts, handle the directing, do the editing, and now the dubbing he ll be all right My eyes suddenly got very hot Yama san was the best kind of teacher Yama san, I promise you I ll try a little harder, a little longer This is the memorial speech I offer up to Yama san. I was disappointed that he ended this wonderful book in 1950 the year he filmed Rashomon I wanted to know about Ikiru, The Seven Samurai and Yojimbo However, he gives a brilliant reason for doing so in the epilogue The theme of Rashomon is that humans are incapable of being honest about themselves He includes himself, which of course calls into question the entire veracity of this book Even so, the strength of this book is not so much what it reveals about AK, but what it reveals about the creative process For him creation is mostly preparation Even his school days, which comprise half this book, are a sort of preparation Only a small part of the process is inspiration Throughout he stresses the importance of a director being familiar with the technical aspects of film making While this underscores the banality of the process, the end result is anything but banal For me, the success of an artist s autobiography lies largely in its making me want to view the artists work again On that score this book is a success I ll be re watching a lot of AK movies in the weeks to come. . Akira Kurosawa would have you believe that he s just a hard working guy and nothing special To some extent that s true, with his sense of diligence and attention to detail being the hallmark of all of his great films What s given short shrift is the heart of a real artist Early on, Kurosawa thought of himself as a slow learner, who only began to flourish when shown attention by a few sympathetic teachers He hated math, and was drawn to the worlds of art and literature He also had some important assists from a rebellious and also artistic older brother who would steer him toward books to read and movies to see Kurosawa s militaristic father also turned out to be a movie lover, who would often drag the family to the movies to watch what was essentially a new form in its early stages Chaplin, John Ford, D.W Griffith, etc., the young future director absorbed it all As he grew older, he went through his own rebellious period, trying his hand, without much success, at being an artist Around this time the talkies started to appear, and his brother Heigo , who was working as a narrator for the silent films, would lose his job, and then commit suicide A few years later, although he had no real film experience himself, Kurosawa would also drift into films himself but in a different way He would, surprising himself, catch the eyes of the studio through a series of application essays His earlier pre film apprenticeship was obviously his extensive reading, his art, and what he had picked from his brother regarding films Kurosawa was hired as an assistant director basically for what he thought and without any demonstrated experience I find that remarkable As he learned the technical end of filmmaking, he excelled at script writing, which would be his major strength throughout his career But it wasn t just words Kurosawa was also keen on how sounds and music and light could create counter points for characters and scenes Kurosawa spends some time explaining how he learned to employ these elements in his early films, up through Rashomon There are also several pages set aside for his discovery of the great Toshiro Mifune The chapter on the making of Rashomon is worth reading on its own Also included is an appendix with various pithy nuggets on filmmaking that are also a must read Highly recommended. . A First Rate Book And A Joy To ReadIt S Doubtful That A Complete Understanding Of The Director S Artistry Can Be Obtained Without Reading This BookAlso Indispensable For Budding Directors Are The Addenda, In Which Kurosawa Lays Out His Beliefs On The Primacy Of A Good Script, On Scriptwriting As An Essential Tool For Directors, On Directing Actors, On Camera Placement, And On The Value Of Steeping Oneself In Literature, From Great Novels To Detective Fiction Variety For The Lover Of Kurosawa S Moviesthis Is Nothing Short Of Must Readinga Fitting Companion Piece To His Many Dynamic And Absorbing Screen Entertainments Washington Post Book World . IMDb .