by Matthew Hardstaff
One of the primary reasons I love collecting DVD's, Blu-rays and the variety of other formats that films come in these days, is that you get a chance to peak behind the veil of the silver screen and witness how the cinematic marvel is created. Granted, you get some cheap bare bones crap that offers nothing more than the film and a trailer, but if you're lucky, you get those special discs that give you a wealth of behind the scenes extra's. Nothing excites the filmmaker in me more than watching my favourite filmmakers perform their work. Its a glimpse into how they interact, work with their cast and crew, and formulate their ideas into images.
Of course 50 years ago folks didn't have the technology to capture the act of creation in real time, so instead they used still images to show us a glimpse of our favourite cinematic masters, their actions frozen in time, guiding the hand of cinema into realms of moving image splendor.
Thanks to Wildgrounds, who were inspired by a post over at My Modern Metropolis, we get to see some beautiful and captivating images from some of our favourite Japanese films. 'Seven Samurai', 'Tokyo', 'Zatoichi', 'Late Spring' and 'Gojira' are just a few of the films listed, as well as a slew of other Asian films, including 'Thirst', 'Red Cliff' and 'City of Life and Death'.
The above picture from 'Seven Samurai', Toshiro Mifune's ever enthralling presence in the foreground, sword slung over his should, is on its own an iconic image, but the addition of Akira Kurosawa on the far right of the frame, a wide grin on his face, obviously pleased with the most amazing of films he was in the process of creating, speaks scores about 'the magic of cinema'. Of course so does a photo of a guy in a Godzilla suit taking direction in the midst of a scaled down model castle.
And seeing Kurosawa, Coppola and Lucas together on the set of 'Kagemusha' is also an image worth a thousand words. Two guys, helping one of their cinematic idols continue to make the films he wants to make. Smiling. Lots of smiling. The kind of smiling that's hard to fake, and tells you that the reason these people made such ground breaking and iconic films is because they enjoyed the process of creation just as much as they do seeing the end product.