誕生日おめでとう 黒澤 明!

Akira KurosawaI’ve been sick the last two days. Because I write some stuff ahead of time, I can fake it to some extent. But it is only now that I’m getting back to work. Interestingly, I find the process of writing itself has made me feel better. It helps to have a purpose, even if that purpose is a little blog and a small following. Well, here goes nothing: another birthday post!

This is not a terribly impressive day for birthdays. I checked the birthday frequency chart and it isn’t an especially low birth day. Then again, it is low even by March standards, and March is a low birth month. And it isn’t devoid of some interesting people.

The great Spanish cubist Juan Gris was born on this day back in 1887. Not one of my favorite actresses Joan Crawford was born in 1904. And the fine magic writer Milbourne Christopher was born in 1914. (He was also supposedly a great performer, but I don’t know anything about that.)

The main singer and songwriter of the band The Cars Ric Ocasek is 64 today. The good thing about being ugly is that aging isn’t so painful. I take great solace in that. Also Catherine Keener is 54.

Some days, I really have to think about who to name the winner in this little birthday contest. Today, there was no contest, because back in 1910 Akira Kurosawa was born. I am very fond of him. I think I own more movies by him than any other director except for Orson Welles. I don’t write much about him, because I’m not sure I have much to add. But Rushomon, RAN, Sanjuro, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo are all on my list of very favorite movies. And this is in addition to a list at least twice as long of his film that I think are at least excellent.

I wish I knew how to say “Happy Birthday!” in Japanese, but I know that Kurosawa spoke English, so this will have to do: Happy birthday!

Afterword

Google Translate give the following for “Happy Birthday.”

お誕生日おめでとうございます

But I get this if I translate “Happy Birthday!”

誕生日おめでとう!

After Afterword

Here’s a little The Cars:

0 thoughts on “誕生日おめでとう 黒澤 明!

  1. I have to see more Kurosawa. One thing about him; I’ve enjoyed the few films of his I’ve seen at revival theaters; they don’t translate as well to TV. (Welles’s use of sound does work well on TV.) He really does think in terms of an audience, in the dark, watching a big screen full of compelling images.

    Just from what I’ve seen, however, his intelligence is striking. A lot of moviemakers considered to be innovators and masters are, to put it politely, not at their strongest with thought. Peckinpah/Leone are borderline insane, Kubrick’s hermetic, Scorsese is at his best illuminating Paul Schrader’s scripts, Coppola and Godard lost their shit after intriguing starts, and so on. There are more examples.

    Kurosawa, like Welles, has nothing in his movies you have to apologize for and say "he was a product of his time." The stuff of his I’ve seen has a decent sensibility which holds up well. I do need to watch more, and more Satyajit Ray. I’m just so ferociously bored by most fiction movies, these days, that I can’t get into the mental state a good old movie requires. You have to project yourself emotionally into those movies, and I’m so spoiled by modern documentaries (we’re in a golden age of those) which suck you in immediately that I can’t make the empathetic leap. It’s easier for me with old books than old movies, now, although I used to do more watching old movies than reading old books!

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