Showing posts with label Akira Kurosawa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Akira Kurosawa. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Red Beard, the Guru

Dreams by Akira Kurosawa was a movie of abstract dreams of different people. While Red  Beard is also a movie of abstracts that form part of a concrete storyline. The lives of people touched by Red Beard and that which mould the character of a young doctor. 

Akira's movies amaze me. Having been fed on Indian movies where the protagonist always has a larger than life image and the movie revolves around just one character, mostly, Akira Kurosawa's movies have an unparalleled depth. Unlike High & Low, this movie has lots of strong tangential subplots but each contributing the main plot. 

It's a story about a young and brash Dr. Noboru Yasumoto (Yūzō Kayama) who against his wishes is made to intern in a rural clinic under the guidance of Akahige ("Red Beard"), Dr. Kyojō Niide (played by Toshirō Mifune).

Red Beard is introduced to Young Yasumoto by others as a character who is tyrannical and a task master. But I, in the entire movie, didn't see a sign of this.

The story is about metamorphosis of Yasumoto with each experience in the clinic. His interactions with characters in the movie chisel his ego and make him a compassionate doctor. Every patient has a story to tell and make an impression. Despite the so many sub-plots, the movie doesn't lose its direction.

The movie of the young patient saved from brothel who is nursed back to health by Yasumoto is interesting and touching. Because of gratitude or the age, she falls in love with the doctor. Her reaction and behavior when she finds another lady vying for Doctor's attention, is not only natural but also brilliant.

The movie is also about the role of a Guru in one's life. The movie reminded me of my own experiences with Naru. Interestingly, Naru's description made to me by others had striking semblance to Red Beard's. And as I figured out, he was as congenial as the character in the movie, at least towards me. Role of a Guru and my experiences in another post on Stupid Thoughts, some other time.

It is a long movie with short sad stories peppered with feel good factor and a very positive ending. Do watch it!

Side note, on research I found that Mifune who was probably Akria's favorite actor had financial stress as he had to maintain the beard for two years. Due to this, he couldn't take up any other assignment. This is sighted as one of the causes between the director and actor. The two of them never worked together again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

High and Low! Realistic

Every movie of Akira Kurosawa that I have watched seem to be different. But one thing that is common to all is that I have loved each one of them.

High and Low, released in 1963, is a movie about the fight between the mind and heart, if I can say so. Of course, it also happens to be a thriller.

The movie is about Kingo Gondo played by Toshirô Mifune. He heads the factories at National Shoes. He raises money by mortgaging his every asset to take over National Shoes. Just on the day that he is to finalize the deal, a telephone call wrecks his future. The caller informs him that he has kidnapped his son and demands a ransom of 30 million Yen. Fortunately, it is soon discovered that it's only the chauffeur's son who is kidnapped due to mistaken identity. An immediate sigh of relief leads to a profound dilemma. The forces within him battle. One, lobbies with him to pursue his dream of owning the company that he works at. The other, with emotional pressure from wife and chauffeur, nags him to be a good human being and save the kid.

After having decided to be a good human, sacrifice his dreams and risk his fortunes, Gondo decides to save the kid.

The movie, thereafter, is about the police investigation leading to nabbing the kidnapper. This part of the movie, as it is in other parts, very realistic and detailed. I was, often in between, reminded to Indian movies or for that matter Hollywood movies. The investigation was team work with no larger than life characters.

The movie is about details which kept me engaged. Must watch!