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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Akira Kurosawa Movie Poster #1

It's good to have friends, or so I am told.

My buddy Vinnie was at an art and book sale last week in the eastern U.S. and picked up five movie posters... for me.

One of them is the poster above... it's for the Kurosawa Akira (surname first) movie Dodes'ka-den (in English Clickety-clack), a Toho Studios movie he made in 1970. He is credited as director and  partially as writer.

Kurosawa was called the Hitchcock of Japanese films - because of his ability to heighten suspense.

He was, however best known for his samurai dramas such as: Rashomon (1950), my personal favorite - Seven Samurai (1954 - the movie that inspired The Magnificent Seven cowboy flick(s)), my next favorite - Throne of Blood 1957 - a Hamlet-inspired flick), Yojimbo (1961) and Ran (1985).

I only mention those above, because they are the only ones I have actually seen. I was inspired enough by the Seven Samurai to have created a LEGO diorama:

The true homage is the hillock at the top, where the flag waves...

A samurai duel in the Seven Samurai inspired me to create this LEGO scene... replete with the katana sword being dragged behind the samurai in the foreground as he ran towards this opponent...
 Based on a book by Yamamoto Shūgorō (surname first), Dodes'ka-den was actually Kurosawa's first directed film in color.

Dodeska-den are the playacting "words" uttered by the film's boy character to mimic the sound of an imaginary trolley car.

Dodeska-den-dodeska-den-dodeska-den (clickety-clack-clickety-clack-clickety-clack).

The word is not a "real onomatopoeic word (the word sounds like the real sound - like quack, moo, crash, pow, bam!) but was created by the author in his story Kisetsu no nai machi ("A Town Without Seasons"), upon which the film is based.

Dodeska-den was a commercial and critical failure upon its initial release, which caused Kurosawa to become clinically depressed enough to attempt suicide in 1971, slashing himself with a razor over 30 times.

He survived.

However, despite the failure in Japan, the movie was well-received abroad.

Along with winning the Grand prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association, it was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 44th Academy Awards.

What is actually of greater interest than the movie, is that this was drawn by Kurosawa himself.

I guess here's another Kurosawa flick I'm going to have to watch. I'll put away all sharp objects.

Thanks, Vinnie!!!!!

Andrew Joseph

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