Seven Samurai

"Once more, we survive."

When you think of Akira Kurosawa, it’s easy to connect him to great samurai films like RanThrone of BloodThe Hidden FortressYojimbo and Sanjuro. What’s surprising, however, is that he didn’t make his first samurai film until midway through his filmmaking career. That film, of course, is arguably his greatest film, Seven Samurai, which was released in 1954. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we start up our Seven Samurai Family series with Kurosawa’s masterpiece. 

We talk about how well this film holds up and speculate as to why this film not only is so easy to watch despite it’s nearly three-and-a-half-hour running time, but also feels so modern. We discuss Kurosawa, what it took for him to get this film made and why he worked to make this stand apart from the glut of samurai films being made at the time. We chat about the cast, notably Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Daisuke Katô, Isao Kimura, Minoru Chiaki, Seiji Miyaguchi and Yoshio Inaba as our titular seven, and why they all work so well here (even drawing a comparison to Coen brother casting). We look at the camera work and how Kurosawa, along with cinematographer Asakazu Nakai, proves himself a master of the medium as we look at his framing, lens choices, camera movement and more. We look at the rest of the production team to bring this world to life so perfectly (except perhaps the bald caps). And we discuss how well this film did in Japan contrasting that with why Toho Films felt the need to truncate it before releasing it to the rest of the world. 

It’s a brilliant film and the foundation of a series we’re quite excited to talk about. So tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage — "Yeah, this could suck. It’s Nicolas Cage and Tom Sizemore. That rarely would add up to a winning combination. But realizing my knowledge of this disaster is pretty much based on Quinn’s monologue in Jaws, I figure there’s gotta be something in here to at least give me a bit more of a sense of what happened. Here’s hoping it doesn’t make me want to just go back and rewatch the monologue from Jaws again."

Pete's Trailer: Lion — "Dev Patel is on the search for his parents across India. Rooney Mara helps, Nicole Kidman hurts. And Garth Davis directs the adaptation by Luke Davies. I love Patel’s work and regret how irrationally hard I was initially on Slumdog. Wish Newsroom was still kicking."