Director Spotlight: AKIRA KUROSAWA

FilmMad-Society-mastheadIf you’re a fan of Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, or you’re just curious about his work, you might want to head over to FilmMad Society. In two of their recent podcasts, they looked at his early masterpieces Rashomon and Yojimbo. Find a quick overview of the podcast episodes below…

FilmMad Society podcast on Rashomon

Rashomon still

Three Men and a Daikini Baby would be a great movie.” — Mike Chiseck

Ever hear of the Rashomon effect? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably seen a movie or TV show that used it as a plot device. Films like Hoodwinked (2005) and Vantage Point (2008) were built around it, and TV shows from Frasier to King of the Hill to The X-Files have all used it to create some of their most memorable episodes.

In this installment of FilmMad Society, podcast co-hosts Freddy Morris and Mike Chiseck engage in a lively discussion of Kurosawa’s film Rashomon, which has had a profound influence on American film and television. Given an Honorary Academy Award in 1951 for the most outstanding foreign film released in the United States that year, it introduced Western audiences to Japanese filmmakers for the first time.

As with previous episodes of FilmMad Society, our trusty co-hosts know their stuff. Freddy and Chiseck take an in-depth look at the film’s genesis and development, and discuss how it reflected sexual politics and traditional gender roles in Japan at that time. They also talk about the technical and stylistic innovations Kurosawa used that set his films apart from those of his contemporaries.

If it sounds a bit heady, don’t worry – there are also laughs a’ plenty, and so you won’t even notice your brain expanding while you listen. (If only film school were this much fun!)

[WARNING: The hosts of FilmMad Society assume that you’ve already seen the film that they’re discussing, so each episode generally contains a ton of spoilers. This particular episode also contains adult language and mature content, including discussion of a sexual assault that occurs in the film. Unless you work in a 16th-century Japanese brothel, this episode is probably NSFW.]

Listen to it on Stitcher.

Episode originally released: May 14, 2013

Runtime: 56 minutes

FilmMad Society podcast on Yojimbo

Yojimbo_still_JapaneseFilmArchive_Flickr

“I’ll get paid for killing, and this town is full of people who deserve to die.”—Sanjuro the Ronin

You bet they do – the whole darn town! And when a ronin gets involved, you know that the only happy camper at the end will be the undertaker. Join FilmMad Society as they hack and slash their way through Kurosawa’s 1961 film Yojimbo.

This time around, Freddy is joined by Casey Criswell from the Bloody Good Horror podcast. Casey loves the samurai movies, so he brings a lot of enthusiasm and knowledge to the show. As with other FilmMad episodes, our hosts have done their homework, and explain the movie’s thematic and cultural context, as well as supplying all kinds of fascinating apocrypha about the genesis and production of the film.

Wanna make it even more entertaining? Every time Freddy makes a Star Wars reference, take a drink! As long as you won’t be driving or operating heavy machinery, you should be okay. So sit back with a bottle of your favourite ‘cough medicine,’ set your blaster on stun, and prepare to learn, young grasshopper!

[WARNING: Language, Mature Content]

Listen to on Stitcher.

Episode originally released: March 5, 2013

Runtime: 1 hour, 24 minutes

TAGS: FilmMad Society, Akira Kurosawa, Director Spotlight, Film

masthead background: close-up image of Academy Award statuette, by Davidlohr Bueso | Source | CC

movie stills:

Rashomon | Japanese Film Archive on Flickr | CC

Yojimbo | Japanese Film Archive on Flickr | CC

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One thought on “Director Spotlight: AKIRA KUROSAWA

  1. Pingback: •• Sunday Podcast Roundup — August 11, 2013 •• | eclectic audio

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