Only a handful of directors have achieved the kind of international stature and creative respect enjoyed by Akira Kurosawa. And although millions of moviegoers have seen the films that stand as a lasting testament to his talent, few outside his native Japan are familiar with the vast array of artwork that he generated as part of his filmmaking process.
In the Academy’s exhibition, “Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist,” more than 100 of Kurosawa’s original pre-production drawings and paintings were on display alongside many of the art supplies, calligraphy materials, annotated screenplays, props and hand-painted costumes that he used to explore and refine his artistic vision. Complementing these items were photographs, posters, marketing materials, correspondence and film clips representing a distinguished career that spanned seven decades.
Trained as a fine artist, Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director. He soon added the roles of screenwriter, director, editor and producer, always bringing his rich visual sensibilities to the work at hand. In 1951 “Rashomon,” which he co-wrote and directed, earned an Honorary Foreign Language Film Award and became the first of several of his films to be recognized by the Academy. In 1985 Kurosawa himself received an Oscar® nomination for directing “Ran,” and in 1989 the Academy presented him with its Honorary Award “for accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world.”
“Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist” was organized with the generous cooperation of the following lenders: Kurosawa Productions and Mr. Hisao Kurosawa, HoriPro, Inc., the Akira Kurosawa Foundation, Mr. Martin Scorsese, Mr. Yoshihiro Tatsuki, Ms. Teruyo Nogami, Mr. Yoshiro Muraki and the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, with special thanks to Tak Abe.
Lady Sue, “Ran”
Ichimonji Hidetora, “Ran”