Sanshiro Sugata

Dir: Akira Kurosawa

DoP: Akira Mimura

Year: 1943

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Things To Consider

  • When exploring the body of work of a director I think an essential step is exploring their earliest works. This is helpful for two reasons, firstly it allows us to trace the roots of their thematic, visual and textural concerns, while exploring how their ability to express these concerns grows. Secondly it serves as an essential reminder, that great directors seldom come fully formed. Every canonised master of cinema had to start somewhere.
  • Sanshiro Sugata is of course a little rough around the edges, as much a product of industry standards as Kurosawa’s relative lack of experience, but if we explore these images we can see they are clearly the work of the director of Seven Samurai, Rashomon etc etc.
  • The final showdown is the key sequence in this, and the earliest examples of Kurosawa’s abilities with iconic showdowns. The setting, the rolling hills, how he places his figures in the amonst the long grass offer us a tantalising glimpse of the Kurosawa that was to come.

Further Research


Purchase U.S.

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