Kurosawa's Rashomon: A Vanished City, a Lost Brother, and the Voice Inside His Iconic Films

Kurosawa's Rashomon: A Vanished City, a Lost Brother, and the Voice Inside His Iconic Films

by Paul Anderer


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Akira Kurosawa is one of cinema's greatest artists. Examining his dazzling films and mysterious past, this new book provides a greater understanding of the director's unique and enigmatic genius."The term 'giant' is used too often to describe artists. But in the case of Akira Kurosawa, we have one of the rare instances where the term fits."—Martin ScorseseDespite his status as a global icon, Kurosawa's life story remains an enigma, and thus art imitates life with its own "Rashomon" effect. First, there were his early years as a painter and young socialist. Then, there was his fiercely intelligent and tormented older brother, Heigo. And finally, there is the epic narrative of 20th century Japan's rise and fall. Kurosawa's iconic film marks a turning point in world cinema and reflects the intricate personal narrative and the conflicting forces in Kurosawa's life and times.To discover the true Kurosawa, Paul Anderer guides us through the ruins of a defeated country and family tragedy. With fresh insights and engaging prose, Anderer brings to life the dynamic energy of Tokyo in the 1920's and its impact on the young Kurosawa. He also resurrects the specter of Kurosawa's older brother, Heigo, who took Kurosawa to see his first films. Heigo himself was a star in the then-thriving silent film industry, leading a colorful, rebellious life until his despairing end.Through it all, Anderer brings these formative years into focus and looks beyond the aura of Kurosawa's enduring fame. Kurosawa’s Rashomon brings a new perspective to Kurosawa and his vivid, challenging world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681772271
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paul Anderer is the author of Other Worlds: Arishima Takeo and the Bounds of Modern Japanese Fiction, andLiterature of the Lost Home: Kobayashi Hideo―Literary Criticism, 1924-1939. He has written widely on Tokyo and the culture of cities. He teaches courses on Japanese literature and film at Columbia, where he is the Mack Professor of Humanities. Paul Anderer lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

A Note on the Text vii

1 Prologue 1

2 The Gate 9

3 Primal Scenes 22

4 Beginnings (A Stray Dog Story) 34

5 Confessions 53

6 The Benshi 76

7 Labyrinth 99

8 The Witnesses, and the Silence 119

9 A Tale of the Brothers Kurosawa 141

10 The Other Akutagawa 153

11 Slow Motion 170

12 The Trial 183

13 Requiem/Rebirth 207

Timeline 225

Filmography 233

Further Reading 235

Acknowledgments 239

Index 243

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