Ikiru – Sanjuro

A welcome release for three Akira Kurosawa classics from the BFI. In Ikiru, Takashi Shimura delivers a fine, understated performance as a dying bureaucrat. Sanjuro stars longtime Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune, playing mostly for laughs as the eponymous hero, a slovenly but experienced samurai who teams up with nine younger, idealistic warriors to defeat corruption in their town. The climactic duel shows the great Japanese director at his controlled, no-frills best.

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A welcome release for three Akira Kurosawa classics from the BFI. In Ikiru, Takashi Shimura delivers a fine, understated performance as a dying bureaucrat. Sanjuro stars longtime Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune, playing mostly for laughs as the eponymous hero, a slovenly but experienced samurai who teams up with nine younger, idealistic warriors to defeat corruption in their town. The climactic duel shows the great Japanese director at his controlled, no-frills best. In Red Beard, Mifune again excels as Dr “Red Beard” Niide, the harsh taskmaster who runs a rural clinic and teaches his ambitious graduate intern the real meaning of being a doctor. Three very different, equally beguiling films that testify to Kurosawa’s rich storytelling genius.

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