Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
In a long dialogue, Nagisa Oshima interviews Akira Kurosawa, leading him to share his thoughts about filmmaking, his life and works, and numerous anecdotes relating to his films and his various film activities.
This "making of" answers a few questions, raises others
Opening with a few general tidbits of film-making philosophy from archival footage of Japanese master-craftsman director Akira Kurosawa (who passed away in 1998, four years before this short was produced), the rest of this SEVEN SAMURAI d.v.d. extra focuses on that feature film itself. Through the recollections of two of the movies principals--Seiji Miyaguchi (samurai Kyuzo) and Yoshio Tsushiya (farmer Rikishi)--plus a scriptwriter, lighting technician, production designer, set decorator, script supervisor, and sound effects technician for the feature, supplemented by a few talking heads, this 49-minute piece yields helpful background about how the story developed, how it was filmed, and its place in cinematic history.
However, there seem to be some glaring omissions. Nothing is said of director Kurosawa's personal life, for instance. Also, it is stated actress Keiko Tsushima (farmer's daughter Shino) suffered eye injury from the director's unusual lighting practices, but it does not specify how debilitating these were. Along the same lines, Tsushiya says his throat was burned during the torching of the bandits' hideout, and a crew member states Kurosawa himself suffered frostbitten toes filming the climactic mud battle while ankle-deep in the freezing slop of Japan's wintry February, but it is not said whether any of this trio were hospitalized or suffered permanent disability.
Nevertheless, with a wealth of film clips from SEVEN SAMURAI amply illustrating the points being made in this "extra," IT IS WONDERFUL TO CREATE is at least interesting to watch.
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