Our six-film retrospective of some of the most acclaimed films by Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa continues with his 1958 adventure Hidden Fortress – best known perhaps for heavily influencing George Lucas’ Star Wars.
The Hidden Fortress stars the always-mesmerizing Toshiro Mifune as a soldier assigned the job of guarding his defeated clan’s princess (Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across a dangerous land. Joining them are a couple peasants, who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films, and left an even bigger mark on popular culture when it was a cited as a big influence on Lucas’ space opus. It also shows Kurosawa jumping from brutal violence to dark humor with ease, creating one of the legendary director’s more interesting formalist works.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa. 1958. 139 mins. Not Rated.
Monday, July 16 – 3:30pm, 6pm, 8:30pm
Tuesday, July 17 – 3:30pm, 6pm, 8:30pm
“By introducing comedy into the mixture and telling the tale from an atypical perspective, Kurosawa has differentiated The Hidden Fortress from nearly every similar feudal era Japanese epic ever committed to the screen. This is a masterpiece.” -James Berardenelli, Reelviews
“Kurosawa’s calculations pay off in thrills and clever character delineation. The trials of the journey impose heroic imperatives and bonds of loyalty that ennoble even the meanest characters.” -Gary Arnold, Washington Post
“The play of light and dark elements in what’s arguably Akira Kurosawa’s most broadly appealing and entertaining picture…explores a dichotomy of the idiocy of greed and the rewards of sacrifice.” -Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews