Is Akira Kurosawa the key? Ep 3

Discussion in 'Revenge of the Sith' started by TK327, Dec 28, 2001.

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  1. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
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    This thread is for continued discussion of Kurosawa's influence on the Star Wars films, particularly Episode 3. Interesting discussion leading up to this thread can be found here.

    Feel free to re-post discussion and pics from this thread's predecessor.
  2. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
  3. Sate_Pestage Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2001
    star 4
  4. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
    star 4
    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/DV2.JPG] [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/DV1.JPG]

    General Tadokoro (left), a character from the Kurosawa film The Hidden Fortress, shares some similarities with Vader/Anakin. Notice the nasty scarring on his cheeks. Tadokoro is a General who initially fights against the protagonists, but later switches sides. At one point, he is defeated in a duel with the main protagonist, General Makabe. Interestingly, Makabe provided the inspiration for Obi-Wan. General Makabe does not harm Tadokoro; however Tadokoro's master disfigures him because of his shameful defeat. This plot element has led some of us to speculate that it may be Sidious, not Obi-Wan, who inflicts Anakin's wounds.
  5. Debo Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2001
    star 5
    Maybe you should cut and paste the best bits from that thread into this one, TK. :)
  6. JediMAQ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 27, 2001
    star 4
    Geez I though that this thread would die a death but GOD you want it to have the life span of YODA. LOL......YOure too much
  7. bad radio Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 1999
    star 4
    Comparison Pics:
    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Noarm1.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Wampa.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/BenVader.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/BenVader3.jpeg]
    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/BenVader2.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/OW2.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/DV2.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Anakin2.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/AA1.JPG][image=http://theforce.net/episode2/newspics/forbidden/29.jpg]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/OA1.JPG][image=http://theforce.net/episode2/newspics/forbidden/11.jpg]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/JJ1.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/JJ2.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/TF1.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/TF2.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Sbike2.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Sbike3.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Rokurota.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Quigon.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/GenPrin.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/GenPrin2.JPG]
    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/GenPrin3.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/GenPrin5.JPG]

    [image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Greed.JPG][image=http://ourworld.cs.com/Three558821/Greed3.JPG]
  8. Sate_Pestage Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2001
    star 4
    Hey, isnt that sig from Contact:

    "First rule in government spending, why build one when you can have two at twice the price. They still want an AMerican to go Doctor. Wanna take a ride?" - Hadden

    I love that dialogue.

    Ummm, those are some interesting pictures but, I think you can do that with any film...if you really tried.
  9. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
    star 4
    Ummm, those are some interesting pictures but, I think you can do that with any film...if you really tried.

    But many of these similarities are definitely NOT due to random chance. Lucas has acknowledged that Kurosawa's work, especiallyThe Hidden Fortress, provided inspiration for Star Wars. Moreover, Lucas' visual style borrows heavily from Kurosawa. This is acknowledged in Lucas' The Hidden Fortress DVD commentary. So, even if some of the posted pics do not match up in terms of plot/context (although some certainly do), their similar visual aesthetic is undoubtedly due to Kurosawa's profound influence over Lucas.

    It appears that Lucas is still using plot elements from THF in the PT. For example, the death of Amidala's decoy handmaiden/bodyguard likely derives from a similar scenario in THF. As mentioned above, we may also be surprised by who actually inflicts Anakin's wounds.

    bad radio: thanx!
  10. Crimson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 18, 2002
    star 4
    I think it's safe to say that we wont need to rely on other movies to determine the plot of EPIII.
  11. paraquem Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2000
    star 1
    I'm glad to see the photographic comparison of Kikuchiyo/Jar Jar Binks. I've embroiled myself in this debate on these boards before and posted the following quote previously too (but it's worth doing again I think)-

    From Philip Kemp's liner notes to the UK VHS edition of S.S -

    "Since Kambei, despite the quiet humour of Takashi Shimura's performance, is almost too elevated a figure for us to identify with, Kurosawa also gives us the all-too-human samurai-wannabe Kikuchiyo (a tour-de-force performance from Toshiro Mifune) and the young aspirant Katsushiro as our point of entry. Kikuchiyo, a last minute addition to the script, serves as the focus of much of the film's comedy, besides providing a bridge between peasants and samurai.

    It seems that Lucas was rifling SS for the whole Gungans/Naboo distrust thing, and needing the outsider to resolve the breach, as much as he was hitting on HF for the decoy Queen angle.

    And to cut along story short, we all know what happens to Kikuchiyo in S.S.

    fare thee well Senator Binks.
  12. Knightstalker- Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2001
    star 3
    There's also that scene in TPM when the Gungan army emerges from the swamp, as scene Lucas says he borrowed directly from Kagemusha.
  13. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
    star 4
    Some interesting reading about Kurosawa's influence on Star Wars at this
    website.


    This is also worth a look.

    Look here and here as well.
  14. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
    star 4
  15. Darth_Vendetta Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 1
    Always loved this thread, never posted my appreciation before.
    I'm digging the comparison between Binksss and Kikuchiyo, but it hearing it always makes me wonder if the light relief in TPM shouldn't have come from a foolish Jedi-wannabe. Imagine Obi-Wan's exasperation!

    Also, come on -- you could NOT make those photo comparisons with any film ever. Put them in context (this whole thread deserves reading) and you'll see what TK327 means.

    BTW Knightstalker, I didn't spot that one in Kagemusha. Great film. Don't want to career off topic but what's Ran like? That's next on my list...
  16. Samurai-Jack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 2
    Darth_Vendetta RAN is a very violent and very dark. Hopefully Ep III is very much like it. The basic and I stress basic idea is a father watching his empire and family destroyed by greed. Here is a review from IMDB:


    As you are surely aware by now, Ran is a Kurosawa's adaptation of King Lear, transferred to medieval Japan. An aging warlord named Hidetora attempts to leave his kingdom to his three sons and enjoy a happy retirement. Things immediately go awry. The youngest son Saburo, a brash, outspoken youth, challenges his father's decision, saying in so many words that the father had trained the sons too well. Raised to imitate their amoral butcher of a father, they would ultimately turn on him. This incensed Hidetora, who banished Saburo (along with a close advisor who dared speak up in agreement with young Sab) and went through with the plan.

    Unfortunately, Saburo turns out to be right and the film proceeds to show the tragedy of Hidetora's decision. Not only do Hidetora's sons turn against him, his entire family has enemies who've been waiting years to avenge themselves against them for Hidetora's past brutal conquests.

    Ran has the feel of a great Shakespearean tragedy. Many of the scenes could have been stage sets, or perhaps more accurately opera. Note the bright colors and lavish costumes set in contrast with the bleak storyline, the bigger than life emotions, the extremity of loyalty and betrayal, and the cataclysmic finale, all very reminiscent of a tragic opera. I was left emotionally drained by the time it was all over.

    Visually, Ran is stunning. I mentioned the exceptional use of color and costumes already. But the shots of the landscapes, sky, and castles are likewise incredible. The characters often make reference to the gods and in Kurosawa's nature shots, you almost get the impression that they are close by, gathering to watch these sad happenings.

    Additionally, Ran features the best - I repeat, THE BEST - battle scenes I have ever witnessed. The music, choreography, and cinematography combine to create two major battles so incredible I think I could just sit there and watch them in a loop for hours on end. The only problem with them (and one of the few weaknesses of the film in general) is the overuse of buckets of blood, much of which looks fake.

    The acting was wonderful, especially Mieko Harada who stole the show as the ultra-manipulative Lady Kaede. Tatsuya Nakadai was also great as the animated Lord Hidetora.



  17. Darth_Vendetta Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 1
  18. Samurai-Jack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 2
    Thanks, but there is more:

    From
    DAMNED SAMURAI

    An Analysis of the Thematic Dualities in Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai

    "Japanese films are interested in what surrounds the human being."

    - Masahiro Shinoda

    ?@

    THE HIDDEN ARTIST

    ?@

    When speaking of theme in his films Akira Kurosawa is reluctant. Called "the greatest of the Japanese directors" by some, "everything that cinema can and should be," by others this unqualified giant of the world cinematic community has inspired much discussion, much praise, yet little unified thematic analysis. This, however, seems strangely fitting, since Kurosawa himself is unwilling, and perhaps unable to define his thematic or stylistic intent any more than we the viewers can pigeonhole his significance. In conversations with acclaimed Japanese film critic and analyst, Donald Richie (one of the few who has endeavoured to actually assess the director's work, and because of this whose views and critical opinions I will be referring to continuously throughout), Kurosawa remains cheerfully ambivalent, more willing, as it is observed, to "talk about lenses, or acting, or the best camera-dolly . . . than meaning or aesthetics." When asked the 'meaning' of a particular shot, Kurosawa's smiling reply is simply: "Well, if I could answer that, it wouldn't have been necessary for me to have filmed the scene, would it?"

    ?@

    Such reluctance Richie attributes to the objectivity of what is "real" compared to what is implied, or rather presumed. "Aesthetics," contends Richie, "presume a system, a style presumes an expression, and a reflection of the man himself. Neither are of any interest to the actuality of the film to be made." The intention of this statement alludes more to the progressive nature of the filmmaker, who is always thinking forward to the next project, never to the work that has been done. However, I believe he has stumbled upon a more conducive assessment of Kurosawa's art: on the surface it is the art of the real, of the concrete, but once it is completed, once the creator has moved on, in his wake exists an art of theme, of style, of thought. There is a distinct dichotomy at work within Kurosawa's films, a didactic presence that insists the practicality of the image - observed, unquestioned - and the intent - abstract, philosophical. It is this that drives Kurosawa, but in what way? To answer this question we must first look at Kurosawa's archetypal centre: the hero.

    ?@

    BUSHIDO AND THE ART OF HUMANISM

    ?@

    Born in 1910, the seventh of seven children (three brothers and three sisters to dispel any notion of mystical intervention), Akira Kurosawa was the son of one of the few old world military educators left in Japan. In essence, as many critics have observed, the young Akira comes from samurai stock. And from this comes the inescapable relationship with bushido, the samurai's code of ethics derived, in part, from the Zen teachings. Among the many apparent relevant comparisons that can be drawn between bushido teachings and the character and art of Kurosawa is the maxim that man is his actions, or more succinctly: to know and to act are one and the same. From this the closest personae we can attribute to Kurosawa through his work is that of the samurai hero, often the ronin or masterless samurai; a man of action expelled from his previous vocation to walk a path of personal and spiritual enlightenment in a landscape of mistrust, deceit, and pessimism. This hero, often personified in the capable interpretations of actor Toshiro Mifune, then becomes Kurosawa's 'theme' with the reality of the environment counter-balancing his ethical code. Dualities of chaos/order, heroism/humanism, action/indifference, and most importantly, illusion/reality all come into play. But it also alludes to one other important aspect of the hero, a polar distinction that Kurosawa invests so much importance in: the act of becoming in opposition to being. Donald Richie explains:

    ?
  19. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
    star 4
    Some interesting stuff there! I especially like this bit. It certainly appears that Lucas is intrigued by Kurosawa's primary theme.

    From this the closest personae we can attribute to Kurosawa through his work is that of the samurai hero, often the ronin or masterless samurai; a man of action expelled from his previous vocation to walk a path of personal and spiritual enlightenment in a landscape of mistrust, deceit, and pessimism. This hero, often personified in the capable interpretations of actor Toshiro Mifune, then becomes Kurosawa's 'theme' with the reality of the environment counter-balancing his ethical code. Dualities of chaos/order, heroism/humanism, action/indifference, and most importantly, illusion/reality all come into play. But it also alludes to one other important aspect of the hero, a polar distinction that Kurosawa invests so much importance in: the act of becoming in opposition to being. Donald Richie explains:

    [Kurosawa's] heroes are always completely human in that they are corrigible. The Kurosawa fable shows that is difficult indeed "to know"; but at the end of the picture the hero has come to learn that "to know and act are one and the same." The Kurosawa villain is the man who thinks he knows, who thinks he is complete.


  20. Samurai-Jack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 2
    The Kurosawa villain is the man who thinks he knows, who thinks he is complete.

    Just like Vader in Ep. IV.

  21. darthlebowski72 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 2001
    star 5
    This is a very good thread. I like this. Can you find these Kurosawa movies in the video stores or do you have to look for them somewhere? Cool stuff :D
  22. DarthSapient Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2001
    star 10
    There are some really fantastic responses in here. We all know that Kurosawa has been an influence on Lucas since the earliest of his scripts. But I don't think it has as strong an influence on his films now as it did then. His children, his focus, and his outlook are all vastly different. He's in a different place. New things influence him. I believe that with the advent of technology, the 'key' is for him to tell as much of the original story as he envisioned it so long ago as accurately as possible no matter what anyone thinks.
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I don't know. TPM seems nearly as strongly influenced by Hidden Fortress as ANH. I'm almost positive that the very end, the final moments of Episode III are going to mirror the final scene of The Hidden Fortress, with the peasants walking down the steps outside the Princess's palace. After watching the Hidden Fortress again, I see that Part 3 of the Star Wars saga ought to end with C-3PO and R2-D2, some kind of reference to the solidification of their relationship, since Part IV opens with the two of them.

    If I have to guess. Obi-wan delivers Luke to Tatooine (second to last scene) and C-3PO and R2-D2 deliver Leia to Alderaan. We'll see them walking out of Organa's palace, with C-3PO delivering the movie's final line, followed by a last beep from R2-D2.
  24. Smuggler-of-Mos-Espa Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2002
    star 6
    I've never heard of SK before.
  25. Samurai-Jack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 2
    Jabbadabbado I think that the plot of Ep I is more like the plot of Seven Samurai.

    The Trade Federations invasion and blockade would be similar to the role of the bandits. The villagers are like the people of Naboo. The samurai are hired to help the villagers. The original task of the Jedi is that of negotiator and after that fails they become the queens protectors. The queen/handmaiden role is like the village women that is forced to hide her gender by dressing like a boy for her own protection. The forbidden love of Anakin and Padme is like the love of village girl and the young samurai.

    I have to watch Seven Samurai again, I can't remember the names of the characters. [face_blush]

    Take a look at this link.
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