Kurosawa featured in TV documentary (fwd)

Kevin Alan Martin martink
Thu Jul 15 08:49:19 EDT 1999

>From today's Daily Yomiuri:

Kurosawa featured in TV documentary

Yomiuri Shimbun

Almost a year after Akira Kurosawa's death, British movie director Alex
Cox, known for his seminal punk flick Sid and Nancy, is making a
television documentary introducing Kurosawa and his works. Cox, who was
born in 1954 in Liverpool, is a fan of Kurosawa movies, including Ikiru,
The Seven Samurai and Yojinbo.

"Kurosawa created both historical and modern masterpieces, each with its
own distinctive style," he said. "He was one of the greatest movie
directors of the century."

Cox first hatched the documentary idea more than a decade ago, but it was
only after the director's death that the plan became financially viable.
"I really wish he were still alive," he said.

Although he never had the chance to interview Kurosawa in person, he has
interviewed members of the director's movie crew in the belief that
Kurosawa's charms--as a man and a director--are best revealed through
examining the works themselves.

The Japanese director's former staff are currently shooting Ame Agaru (It
Stops Raining), which was written by Kurosawa.

Cox visited the location to gather information and interview crew members,
including Takashi Koizumi, who worked for many years as assistant director
to Kurosawa; cameraman Takao Saito; scriptwriter Teruyo Nogami, who was
said to be Kurosawa's right-hand man; Masato Hara, who produced Ran; and
actor Tatsuya Nakadai.

The British movie director said he was able to pick up valuable
information. Nakadai, for example, shed light on the production of Yojinbo
and Saito discussed a novel shooting technique that relied on two or more

Cox plans to interview various world class directors who have been
influenced by Kurosawa, including Steven Spielberg, Francis Coppola,
Martin Scorsese and Bernardo Bertolucci. He will also interview actor
Richard Gere, who starred in Kurosawa's Rhapsody in August.

"Although the name Kurosawa is well known in Europe and the United States,
few ordinary people get the chance to actually see his works," Cox said,
adding that he hoped the documentary would help elevate Kurosawa's stature

The large-scale project will be jointly produced by British, French, Dutch
and U.S. television stations, with Britain's Channel 4 taking the lead.
The documentary is scheduled to be aired in a number of countries around
Sept. 6, the anniversary of Kurosawa's death.

Japanese broadcasting rights are co-owned by Kurosawa Production Inc.,
which provided pictures from Kurosawa movies, and Asmik Ace Entertainment,
the company currently producing Ame Agaru. It has yet to be decided which
television channel will air the documentary, which is scheduled to hit the
airwaves sometime after September.

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