Academy to salute Akira Kurosawa

Mumbai: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will salute the life and career of director Akira Kurosawa during a three-month celebration that will include a retrospective screening series and a new exhibition showcasing the director’s original artwork, which has rarely been seen outside of Japan.

The kickoff will be Thursday, September 18, at 8 p.m., when the Academy will premiere off a new restoration of the 1950 masterpiece Rashomon in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Hosted by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, the evening will include a panel discussion with Kurosawa’s collaborators, friends and family, including son Hisao Kurosawa, who is the head of Kurosawa Productions. Following the film and discussion, the exhibition Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist will be unveiled in the Academy galleries in Beverly Hills.

An Academy Salute to Akira Kurosawa will continue with screenings of five more of the director’s Academy Award-nominated and winning films  Kagemusha, Seven Samurai, Ran, Yojimbo and Dersu Uzala – on Friday and Saturday evenings through October 4.

Rashomon was restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with the Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation and The Film Foundation. The best surviving picture element was a 35mm release print, made from the original nitrate negative (which no longer exists), held within the collection of the National Film Center in Tokyo. The print was scanned at 4K resolution, and digital tools were used to clear the scratches, dirt and abrasions that existed in virtually every frame. The numerous pops, hisses, crackles and distortions on the print’s audio were also digitally removed.

Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist will present more than 100 of Kurosawa’s original pre-production drawings and paintings 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. Photographs, posters, marketing materials, correspondence and film clips illuminating his nearly seven-decade career will round out the exhibition.

In 1989 the Academy presented him with an Honorary Award for accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world.

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