Thursday, September 3, 2009

Venice Film Festival brings together an illustrious panel to discuss Akira Kurosawa

by Chris MaGee

We're just a few months away from 2010, the centenary of the birth of one of Japan's master filmmakers, Akira Kurosawa. Quite a few special events and released are already in the works to commemorate the occasion including the production of Kurosawa's last script, an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and a rumored 25 film DVD box set from the folks at the Criterion Collection. Now word comes of a a very impressive panel discussion being held at the very same festival at which Kurosawa's 1950 film "Rashomon" made history by "introducing the world to Japanese film".

On September 6th The 66th Annual Venice Film Festival will be holding a roundtable discussion moderated by film historian Peter Cowie and titled "Akira Kurosawa: a Century of Cinema". Kurosawa experts and colleagues script supervisor Teruyo Nogami, author and film historian Donald Richie, French critic Michel Ciment, Time Magazine film critic Richard Corliss, and Italian film scholar Aldo Tassone will discuss the influence that politics, literature and filmmaking contemporaries like Ozu and Mizoguchi had on Kurosawa's work as well as the influence that that work had on cinema and the arts around the globe.

As I said, it's only fitting that this summation of Kurosawa's filmography is taking place at the Venice Film Festival seeing that it was in 1951 that the fest's jury honoured "Rashomon" the Golden Lion, the first time a Japanese film won this highly coveted award, and a feat that wouldn't be repeated until 1997 when Takeshi Kitano was honoured in the same way for his film "Hana-bi (Fireworks)". So if you're lucky enough to be in Venice this year make sure to check out "Akira Kurosawa: a Century of Cinema" at the Sala Pasinetti (Palazzo del Cinema) on September 6th at 3:00PM.

Thanks to Cathy Munroe Hotes for pointing out this event.

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