Video Picks Archive
This week my picks are Yojimbo (1961 - ) and Rashomon (1950 - ).
This week, the Criterion Collection has released a new DVD version of the first film, directed by Akira Kurosawa. Toshiro Mifune stars as Sanjuro, a wandering samurai who finds himself in a town torn apart by corruption. Two gangsters are competing for complete control, and are prepared for a battle in the streets. Both of them hire Sanjuro as a bodyguard, but he is more interested in having them kill each other off. Yojimbo (The Bodyguard) is an extraordinary action film, even by Kurosawa's standards. It has spawned many imitations and remakes, most notably Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing.
Kurosawa and his favorite star, Mifune, had their first international hit with the second film. A man is found dead in the forest, and a thief (Mifune) is arrested for his murder. During the trial, different accounts of the story are given. This film is amazing in its elegant depiction of human behavior. Rashomon is very different from the first film, and together they stand as a testament to Kurosawa's genius. It won the Academy Award for best foreign film (1951), and was also the basis for The Outrage and a definite influence of Courage Under Fire.
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Capsule Reviews © 1999 Matt Heffernan