A true film legend, Akira Kurosawa, will be celebrated for his 100-year anniversary by two Columbus theaters with a monthlong tribute to his creativity and his movies.
“He’s a filmmaker we’ve shown off over the years, but with his 100-year anniversary coming up and new print releases of his movies, we couldn’t let this moment go by,” said Chris Stults, a Wexner Center film curator.
The Wexner Center is collaborating with the South Campus Gateway Film Center to play six of Kurosawa’s films through the month of June.
Kurosawa is one of the great influential filmmakers in cinema history. The worlds he creates through his films are unlike scenes produced by other directors.
His movies have gathered a sustainable edge that makes audiences want to revisit the world he produces, Stults said.
Kurosawa introduced Japanese cinema to the rest of the world through several of his films, but the most recognized is “Rashomon.” The silent film won an Academy Award for best foreign film, but it also led the way for directors to tell a story in a multifaceted way.
“Rashomon” is one of Kurosawa’s films that will have a new restoration for his tribute.
Rashomon is now a word known globally because of the film. The word is recognized by Western directors as an innovative way to create depth to a story by using different viewpoints from the cast.
Another significantly notable film from Kurosawa is “Seven Samurai.” This film has inspired producers to create a remake with actor George Clooney, set to be released in 2011.
“‘Seven Samurai’ is one of those rare movies that creates a chain of influence. It incorporates action, adventure, sympathy and inspiration. It’s a movie that almost has to be seen in the theater to get the full experience,” Stults said.
“Seven Samurai” is set to have a larger audience than most of the shows because unlike the rest of the films, it will be previewed for a week instead of one premier.
Unless Ohio State students are staying in the Columbus area for the summer, most students will be going home until Autumn Quarter. The Wexner Center has recognized this, which is why it chose to set the tribute during the summer. Kurosawa’s films appeal to a more general audience, so the community will be able to experience the film series as well.
“Since the Wexner opened in 1987, we’ve always held a summer film series,” Stults said. “Students leaving for the summer is something we’re aware of when doing a large film series, but these films are theoretically relevant to a more general audience. We’re not particularly concerned.
The tribute kicked off Thursday with the film “Stray Dog” followed by “Sanshiro Sugata.”
The tentative schedule for the rest of the viewings are posted on the Wexner Center’s website. It is one of several movie series taking place at the Wexner Center this summer.