The Asiafilm Akira Kurosawa Website by Asiafilm.com

Asiafilm.com is very pleased to offer some of the finest movie-making of this century, now available on DVD. We try our best to keep all of these in stock. These are timeless classics. As far as we know, Asiafilm.com is the only place you can buy all available Kurosawa films on DVD; and all are discounted! For some indepth reviews to the films The Bad Sleep Well, The Lower Depths, and Stray Dog, follow this link to Images Journal #6.

Most of these are from Mei Ah out of Hong Kong. Subtitles are not the best, but the picture quality on these range from good to excellent! (except the last few items as mentioned at the end.) For the most part, these look as good or better than the ones shown on TV in recent years.

The following Mei Ah titles are now only $14 each: Ikiru, Dode's Kaden, Sanjuro, The Bad Sleep Well, The Throne of Blood, The Most Beautiful, They Who Step on Tiger's Tail, Red Beard, Sanshiro Sugata, Sanshiro Sugata II, Stray Dog, Drunken Angel, Lower Depths, Record of a Living Being, Yojimbo, One Wonderful Sunday, No Regrets for Our Youth, High and Low, and Seven Samurai.

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---Drunken Angel . | - Stray Dog --. -- Madadayo (No Not Yet)- we now sell the better quality US version-same low price-$15

The following titles have below average picture quality, possibly due to inferior film masters and/or poor digital editing. They are still enjoyeable to watch. Some are not available anywhere else. We are offering these at reduced prices:

USA DVD releases: Kurosawa's gorgeous Russian epic- Dersu Uzala - $30. Seven Samurai-$32. Order Here.

More Criterion Kurosawa films: Hidden Fortress (Criterion) Kurosawa-$24, High and Low-$32

Criterion's Yojimbo and Sanjuro are only $24 each.

Akira Kurosawa Films - DVD releases From Mei Ah

 Please Note: The English subtitles are typical of many Hong Kong releases (i.e. not the most accurate). However, the meanings are conveyed, and the stories are easy to follow.

The Most Beautiful

At the later stage of the Pacific War, the Japan Government organized groups of women to work in factories for the manufacture of weapons. They whipped into a productive frenzy by a strong willed foreman who exhorted them to become production warriors. Though the film was blamed for propagate Imperialism, the naïve image of Yoko Yaguchi was well accepted by the audience. The film also possesses a lively rhythm.

Sanjuro

Toshiro Mifune portrays a samurai who assists a group of young progressives to annihilate the corruption rampant in their clan. Kurosawa expressed a message: Sanjuro learned from a woman's advice that a genuine swordman seldom draw his sword out of the sheath. The battle scene at the end of the film is unforgettable: Mifune stabbed Tatsuya Nakadai backhand, a stream of blood jets from the latter's chest. The powerful and cruel action, plus the geometric composition of the picture creates a horrifying but aesthetic scene, one among the famous battle scenes.

The Bad Sleep Well

A film with a real plot. Through a bribery case, Kurosawa castigated the lingering traces of feudalism in modern-day Japanese big business and revealed the dark side of human nature. Kurosawa further showed his talent in composition of picture. The settings of corridor, stairs, rooms, mirrors and even the rubble are exquisitely designed.

The Throne of Blood

"The Throne of Blood" is Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth", but Kurosawa sets the story in feudal Japan during the Samurai era. The story tells of two warriors who have thwarted a rebellion and are about to be rewarded. One of the warrior is predicted by an old woman that he will rule. Having instigated by the prediction, he plotted an ambitious political conspiracy…… The thick fog, the labyrinth forest, the cry in the heavy rain, together with the gruesome face of Isuzu Yamada, manifests Kurosawa's marvelous technique with image.

They Who Step On Tiger's Tail

Kamakura Shogun, giving credence to the slanders of his subordinates, sends out a strict order to the barrier-guards of several provinces to apprehend his younger brother, Yoshitsune. Accompanied by his retinue of six, Yoshitsune comes up to a barrier-guard on his escapade to Mutsu-no-kuni. Thanks to the wits of his follower, Yoshitsune disguised as a strolling monk extricates himself from his critical situation.

Red Beard

An ambitious young medico Yuzo Kayama, who aims at the imperial doctor, however, takes a job at a public clinic in the slum district. Toshiro Mifune plays the head of the clinic and his attitude and philosophy finally changes the progressive notion of Kayama. The film allegedly Kurosawa's peak of perfection. Indeed, its soul-stirring scene of the earthquake and the tragic episode which the beggar family committed suicide deeply impress the audience.

Seven Samurai

Around the time of wheat harvesting, the wandering bandits come to raid the villages and the villagers tremble with fear and apprehension. The only way to defend the village is to hire the samurai mercenaries. With the cooperation of a veteran fighter Kambei, six other samurai have been chosen, which initiates a miserable struggle between seven samurai and the bandits. This film is regarded as the most important one among Akira Kurosawa's masterpieces and even in Japan's film history.

No Regrets For Our Youth

In 1933, the Japan Government planned to control the Japanese people with expansionistic ambitions. Many libertarians were exiled from school. Noge was one of the liberalistic student and his passion attracted Yukie. They lived together but their happy days did not last long. Noge was arrested and charged with being an international spy. After Noge had been tortured to death, brave Yukie began her life of fighting against the humiliation and accusation from the public…….

Stray Dog

Toshiro Mifune took the role of a young cop whose gun was stolen on a crowded bus. He, with the help of an experienced cop, searched all over Tokyo for the lost gun. The film has a well-knit plot and is imbued with tense atmosphere. Akira Kurosawa was well versed in using the summer heat to enhance the apprehensive and pressing atmosphere.

Drunken Angel

In 1945, following the end of Pacific War, most of Japan's large towns were vast heaps of ashes and rubble. The virtual bacilli of society were thriving around the blacks markets. Among the rabble lived an old doctor practicing for the benefit of the poor. As a young man he had ruined himself through fast living, but is now a lovable old humanitarian, operating a small clinic with the help of a nurse whom he rescued from misery.

Sanshiro Sugata

Being the first masterpiece of Kurosawa, the film was a great success and established the reputation of Kurosawa. The film explores the relationship between the creator of Judo and his faithful protégé. It depicts the process Sugata, a rash and meddlesome young man, learns Judo with his heart and becomes an admirable Judo Martial Artist. The five Judo competitions in the movie were designed to show different rhythms, by which we can get a hint of Kurosawa's style.

Sanshiro Sugata II

The film continues with "Sanshiro Sugata" and is about the revenge on Sugata. The two younger brothers of Sugata's vanquished foe undergo harsh Judo training so as to take revenge on Sugata for their brother's death. Kurosawa had successfully portrayed an outstanding negative character. A pale and haggard face, plus the fluffy hair, creates a queer murderous look which enhance the deadly atmosphere of the combat.

One Wonderful Sunday

The film depicts a pair of young lovers who forget their troubles and unpleasantness on a beautiful Sunday. Imbued with vivid atmosphere, it is the first Japanese film that directly reflects the youngsters' attitude towards sex. The episode in which the lead woos his lover fascinates many young audiences. Moreover, the scene they sitting in ruins and imaging the running of a restaurant also elates us so much.

Sanjuro

Toshiro Mifune portrays a samurai who assists a group of young progressives to annihilate the corruption rampant in their clan. Kurosawa expressed a message: Sanjuro learned from a woman's advice that a genuine swordsman seldom draw his sword out of the sheath. The battle scene at the end of the film is unforgettable: Mifune stabbed Tatsuya Nakadai backhand, a stream of blood jets from the latter's chest. The powerful and cruel action, plus the geometric composition of the picture creates a horrifying but aesthetic scene, one among the famous battle scenes.

Yojimbo

"Yojimbo" was the greatest draw among Kurosawa's works. Toshiro Mifune portrays a samurai who arrives in a village which is under the yoke of two gangs&emdash;bitter rivals&emdash;who are constantly at war with each other. Mifune decides to stir up conflicts among the gangs so as to annihilate them. Kurosawa paid much efforts in adding amusement to the film. Besides the great achievement of Kurosawa, the outstanding cinematographer and also Mifune make "Yojimbo" a charming film imbuing with excitement and entertainment.

The Hidden Fortress

During Japan's medieval ages, an era of civil war, Lady Yukihime, heiress to the defeated Akizuki family, brought along hundreds pounds of gold and under the protection of a faithful Akizuki captain, escape to the neighboring province. The scenes of the stressing black sky, the plateau with no ends, the battle of two black shadows are all unforgettable to audiences. The film was his first try at wide screen, and the good result convinced him to abandon the standard one.

Record of a Living Being

This is probably the most contestable film among Kurosawa's works. Toshiro Mifune portrays an old man who is struck with an overwhelming fear of radioactivity from the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs. He determines to migrate to Brazil to build refuge. He was pronounced by the court "mentally incompetent" and was finally sent to an asylum in which he thinks he witnesses the earth burning into ashes. Kurosawa expressed: " I did not intend to say frightening things to raise an alarm, I just want to hear the voice from a kind living being's heart."

High And Low

It is based on "King's Ransom", an novel by Ed Mcbain. George Lucas's comment on the film: "The best of mysteries." Toshiro Mifune portrays a wealthy industrialist who is one day contacted by a gang of kidnappers that they've kidnapped his son. The ransom is of an amount so huge that it will absolutely bankrupt Gondo. While he discovers that the kidnappers have accidentally snatched the son of his chauffeur, Gondo faces the most difficult dilemma.

The Lower Depths

Living together in one of the worst of Edo's tenements is a very curious collection of people: prostitutes, actors, gamblers, thieves&emdash;the very dregs of Tokugawa society……Kurosawa did not put it as a film noir, instead, he expressed the tragedy of these people with amusing methods which has intensified and strengthened the film.

More Links:

The Akira Kurosawa Home Page

http://www.harapan.co.jp/english/e_books/E_B_movie_kurosawa.htm

 

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