David Stratton to present a 10 film retrospective on Akira Kurosawa at the Sydney Film Festival

The Sydney Film Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and The Japan Foundation have announced that David Stratton (much beloved co-host of ABC’s former critic show At the Movies) will present a program of 10 essential films directed by the great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

Entitled Essential Kurosawa: Selected by David Stratton, the collection of films will screen as a retrospective program at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Dendy Opera Quays cinema, as part of the 64th Sydney Film Festival (7-18 June).  The retrospective will also screen in Melbourne at ACMI (25 May-8 June) and in Canberra at NFSA’s Arc cinema (14 June-30 June).

This retrospective consists of ten of the finest films made by Kurosawa, from Rashomon (1950) to Ran (1985), with specially imported 35mm prints courtesy of The Japan Foundation and Toho Co. Ltd.

Kurosawa was a master of action, influenced by directors like John Ford, who in turn influenced a younger generation of filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese. 

Renowned critic and broadcaster, David Stratton, a former director of the Sydney Film Festival (1966 to 1983), will introduce the Sydney screenings and a number of the Melbourne and Canberra screenings.

David Stratton said, “During the ‘golden era’ of Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa was by far the best-known Japanese director internationally. His films were not only accessible, they were marvellously executed.”

“The best of Kurosawa’s films possess a grandeur combined with a common touch. No-one filmed action scenes like he did – his use of multiple cameras, long lenses and intricate editing combined to make these sequences unforgettable.”

The 10 films in the program are:
Rashomon (1950)
Living (Ikiru) 35mm (1952)
Seven Samurai 35mm (1954)
Throne of Blood 35mm (1957)
The Hidden Fortress 35mm (1958)
Yojimbo 35mm (1961)
High and Low 35mm (1963)
Red Beard 35mm (1965)
Kagemusha (1980)
Ran (1985)

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, “Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most influential film directors of all time, Akira Kurosawa created many masterpieces in his over 50 years of filmmaking.  Kurosawa really opened up the eyes of the western world to Japanese cinema, and his humanist approach uniquely explored the problems and concerns of ‘ordinary’ people as much as his famed warriors.  With an astonishing 66 films to his credit this retrospective is an essential guide to Kurosawa’s greatest hits, and certainly crucial viewing for film fans.”

Sydney Film Festival tickets are on sale now for Essential Kurosawa: Selected by David Stratton.
Flexipasses and subscriptions to Sydney Film Festival 2017 are on sale now.
Call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.

Tickets to Essential Kurosawa at ACMI in Melbourne are available online or via phone at 03 8663 2583 or in person at ACMI Fed Square. ACMI will hold a lecture by David Stratton during its season. Check the acmi.net.au for details.

Tickets to Essential Kurosawa at Arc cinema, NFSA (Acton, ACT) are available online.

The full Sydney Film Festival program will be announced in May 2017.