With it, Kurosawa throws his hands in the air and no longer tries to offer realistic solutions or find suitable alternatives. Yet, if we were to describe Yojimbo solely as a Hammett adaptation with John Ford influences, we would be missing a great deal. The theme of replacing the old with the new is also present on a level more personal for Kurosawa. Featuring a heavy dose of over-the-top violence, Django had a number of sequels and remakes, and also influenced the 2007 Japanese film Sukiyaki Western Django by Takashi Miike, whose works often embrace the kind of violence portrayed in Yojimbo. In one scene, Max had to rush off alone to take on a rampaging Bullet Farmer. Hollywood directors borrowing from other director's signature styles isn't unheard of in the industry and it happens fairly often. Additionally, despite Kurosawa himself never seemingly having acknowledged it, the story bears strong resemblance also to Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, indeed arguably more so than The Glass Key (see more here). The more obvious of these influences included classical works of Western literature, which Kurosawa reimagined in a Japanese idiom, including Macbeth (Throne of Blood) and Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (also called The Idiot). The film sort of evolved from there. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. He's one of the most widely recognized Japanese directors, and his timeless masterpieces such as Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Yojimbo have made a lot of Hollywood movies successful. Following the film’s release, Kurosawa famously wrote to Leone: “Signor Leone, I have just had the chance to see your film. Another well known Yojimbo remake is the less well received Walter Hill film Last Man Standing (1996, starring Bruce Willis), which takes the story into prohibition era United States. With Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa. RELATED: 10 Best Debut Films From Directors. According to one source, during the filming, Leone was "slaving over a moviola machine and copying Yojimbo, changing only the setting and details of the dialogue." Impressively enough, he manages to kill a whole squad. It's worth watching Sergio Leone's unofficial Western remake of Yojimbo - A Fistful of Dollars - for comparisons. Yojimbo spawned the three-film "Man With No Name" series that launched Clint Eastwood to stardom. … They are trickster deities, hard to pin down, playing jokes, unreliable.” (144) We have previously discussed Martinez’s theory on a few occasions, including in this thread. Born 29 years before the Second World War began, the future filmmaker was taught in his early years about how he was a descendent of samurai. This was a time when Japan began to go through a significant change as a nation, opening up its borders and for the first time in hundreds of years accepting foreign, and especially western, influences. Seven Samurai remains one of my favorite films of all time. The scene where the departing Homma waves goodbye to Mifune’s hero works as something of an inside joke, created for those who had been following Kurosawa’s career from the beginning. Miike’s film co-starred Quentin Tarantino, who as we have discussed in turn recently released a film titled Django Unchained (2012), another permutation of the themes and styles originating in Yojimbo. Here are 10 of the most notable films that have that Kurosawa influence. Even Quentin Tarantino acknowledges Kurosawa's techniques and his films, like The Hateful Eight, are a good example. Here, perhaps more than in any of his other films, his admiration of John Ford shows up, and Yojimbo is probably the closest that he ever got to making a western. We are looking forward to the next Asian permutation of the cycle. This disappointed Kurosawa who felt that this reaction was exactly the opposite of what his intention with Yojimbo had been. Therefore, Kurosawa had the opportunity of growing up watching films. Both in Japan and the West, Yojimbohas had a considerable influence on various forms of entertainment. It would be settled out of court for an undisc… He is well-versed in multiple fandoms that gravitate toward the edgy and nihilistic spectrum of the internet culture. This time around, the influence comes from one of Kurosawa's lesser-known movies, Ikuru. So in order to attack their evil and irrationality, and thoroughly mess them up, I brought in the super-samurai played by Mifune. His influence on Western directors ranges from homages and scene recreations to sometimes flat-out remakes. Akira Kurosawa info • The Akira Kurosawa Community The movie was essentially a Western remake of the 1961 Japanese samurai film Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa. NEXT: Japan’s 10 Best Samurai Films Of All Time, Ranked On Rotten Tomatoes. The film also has an overarching theme of tradition versus technology, or old versus new. However, the similarities with Seven Samurai are certainly there, albeit less refined and with the added bonus of a stellar cast. And then, the Yojimbo smiles. Much like A Fistful of Dollars, Magnificent Seven replaced the samurai with cowboys. This compositional pattern changes and evolves as the film progresses, with the screen space gradually opening up. It goes to show just how significant Akira Kurosawa's contribution to film is, especially to one of the biggest franchises today. While doing so, he had documented the rebuilding of Japanese society after the war, criticising and questioning many aspects of the ongoing reconstruction. Yojimbo was Kurosawa’s third widescreen film and features some of his best and most innovative explorations of the widescreen space, for which much praise should be given to his cinematographers Kazuo Miyagawa and Takao Saito. Even Eastwood's Man With No Name is inspired, perhaps, by the samurai in "Yojimbo." Yet, he ultimately finds a way to overcome the challenge posed by the gun — very much unlike what had happened in Kurosawa’s earlier Seven Samurai, where all of the samurai who die are killed by gunfire. While Yojimbo is a kick-ass Western, it also deals with the conflicts of a society that is being heavily influenced by outside forces, specifically that of the United States.. An opening card in the movie tells us that the year is 1860 and the Tokugawa regime has come to an end. Both in Japan and the West, Yojimbo has had an influence on various forms of entertainment. Even that said, I kind of feel like Kurosawa is a tad over rated. In 1964, Yojimbo was remade as A Fistful of Dollars, a Spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood in his first appearance as the Man with No Name. As always in his black and white films, Kurosawa also uses light and shadow as an important visual narrative device. Actually, both men are wrong in that they … After all, applying tried and tested formulas for films can make a director shift their focus on the story and in other creative aspects. Japanese concerns, but by external Western influence. He was himself an outsider, a kind of outlaw, which enabled him to act flexibly, if sometimes recklessly. Only such a samurai of the imagination much more powerful than a real samurai, could mess up these gangsters. Yojimbo & Sanjuro (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray) Thanks to perhaps the most indelible character in Akira Kurosawa’s oeuvre, Yojimbo surpassed even Seven Samurai in popularity when it was released. This is crucial, as geography in Yojimbo is an important metaphor, not least with the placement of the two feuding gangs at the opposite ends of the town and the hero occupying the space in the middle. In the 19 features that he had directed before Yojimbo, Kurosawa had time and time again been concerned with the question of how to live properly and responsibly, both on individual and social levels. The film is not only very carefully and often artificially choreographed, but the hero of the film also functions as something like a director who prepares and directs the plot towards his intended total destruction of the town. "Yojimbo" had a heavy influence on Sergio Leone and the spaghetti western in general, with star Toshiro Mifune as the Clint Eastwood ‘man with no name’ prototype. Lots of build up, with brief, explosive action sequences. The similarities are stunning. It essentially trades off the samurai/cowboy for the jazzy American gangster. The character was created for the film Yojimbo (1961), an unofficial adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, directed by Akira Kurusawa).Korusawa never admitted publicly that his film was an adaptation of the novel, but acknowledged that he was familiar with Hammett’s work, and was indebted to him as a story-teller. For an English speaking viewer, the home video availability of the film is fairly excellent. Fire is fought with fire. This piece of new technology threatens traditional values, so much so that even the superhuman hero is afraid of it. The nameless ronin in Yojimbo is essentially the Mandalorian’s feudal Japanese ancestor, as both warriors are adventurers who are shrouded in mystery and prone to conflict. Case in point is one of his masterpieces, Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem. Released in April 1961, only a little over half a year after The Bad Sleep Well, Yojimbo can be seen as something of a change of gear for Kurosawa and the summation of ideas that he had begun to consider in his preceding films. on/y two factors: Yojimbo and the ordinary Japanese jidai-geki"6 (emphasis added). Of course, instead of lordless samurai, the ant colony ends up hiring some hungry circus performers, and that's when it veers off from the template. This is emphasised in the film both visually and with sound design. Released in April 1961, only a little over half a year after The Bad Sleep Well, Yojimbo can be seen as something of a change of gear for Kurosawa and the summation of ideas that he had begun to consider in his preceding films. Another aspect often discussed in connection with Yojimbo is its theatricality. However, Kurosawa’s father was understanding of the fact they were born an era where it would be hard to ignore the western influence. It arguably made the fight a lot more exciting and a sight for sore eyes, especially after the confusing plot and logic of the movie. A Fistful of Dollars for the Last Man Standing: Yojimbo and the Postmodern Western by Melody Ayres-Griffiths.. I think Yojimbo is probably a better representation of his work. Particularly in Episode IV: A New Hope, some of C-3PO and R2-D2's dialogue were homages to Kurosawa's films. This Akira Kurosawa filmography page was last updated on November 1st, 2019. They both end up saving the troubled local populace and ending the standoff without much gain. In this case, it's Flik's ant colony needing help from "warriors" against the oppressive grasshoppers. He attacks, and the music crashes to life in his wake, with the thumping, invigorating main theme that underlies many of the action sequences. Kurosawa had been especially critical about the rampant financial and moral corruption that he saw around him, with many of his post war films dealing with the dark underworld of contemporary Japan. This dichotomy had of course already been a recurring theme in most of Kurosawa’s post-war works, with the question “is all change good”, and in terms of post-war Japan, “is all western good”, most prominently posed by the director. Kurosawa was the filmmaker behind Seven Samurai, which served as the basis for the 1960 American Western, The Magnificent Seven. Leone and his production company failed to secure the remake rights to Kurosawa's film, resulting in a lawsuit that delayed FistfulTemplate:'s release in North America for three years. Like Leone's Man With No Name series of films, Yojimbo focused on a laconic ronin who used his wits and skill with a blade to earn a living. This was the time period that the American Commodore Perry came to Japan and forced them to begin trading with the … Yet other permutations of Yojimbo include films that only use its main character, or those that copy its overall setup. The 'spaghetti Western' influences are blatant, & the characters enjoyably over-acted. I was so fed up with the world of Yakuza. Yojimbo established such a good standard for storytelling that Hollywood just had to keep recreating it. A rather poorly received fantasy / science fiction film that bears some influence from Yojimbo. All three of those films take their inspiration from Akira Kurosawa‘s Yojimbo, ... women in strong roles when Western films had yet ... Influences. Influence: The Hidden Fortress (1958) Last Man Standing (1996) This mid 1990’s offering by Walter Hill is a different take on Kurosawa’s masterpiece Yojimbo (1961). One of its most renowned champions is Yasujiro Ozu, who supplemented traditionalism with a cinematographic style enriched with patience and, to an extent, Shots are predominantly asymmetric but perfectly balanced, and because of Kurosawa’s trademark use of long distance lenses, the picture is relatively flat and two-dimensional. Yet, according to both Miyagawa and Saito, the shots used in the final cut of Yojimbo are in fact predominantly assistant cameraman Saito’s, whom Kurosawa gave near total freedom to find interesting and unexpected ways to shoot the action (see for instance Galbraith, page 308). Miyagawa was one of the great Japanese cinematographers, probably best known for his work for Mizoguchi, including in films like Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff. Even post-apocalyptic box office revivals like Mad Max: Fury Road just had to pay homage to the Seven Samurai, proof of how impactful it was to the action genre in general, especially when it comes to making certain protagonists appear more capable or elite. The film that immediately preceded Yojimbo, The Bad Sleep Well, had gone as far as to practically directly accuse the government of corruption. Much like The Two Towers, its final battle scene between Neo Anderson and Agent Smith took place in a showery arena. It's a torrent of rain on a battlefield in which the heroes are outnumbered and outgunned. Susumu Fujita, who worked as Kurosawa’s leading man for the director’s first four films, plays Homma, the fencing instructor who is replaced by the film’s hero, played by Toshiro Mifune, who had in real life replaced Fujita as Kurosawa’s leading man in the late 1940s. Since Japan is a signatory of the Berne Convention on the international copyright, you must pay me.” (quoted from Galbraith). With Yojimbo, Kurosawa specifically set out to push boundaries, introducing a type of realistic violence that had not been seen before. For more information, take a look at the DVD and blu-ray sections of this website. In addition to its visual style, Yojimbo is notable also for its soundtrack and sound design. Sid Natividad likes movies so much as to choose the risk of urinary tract infection than miss a few minutes of post-credit Easter eggs, that shows the extent of his dedication. In Yojimbo, almost everyone’s actions are questionable. These are Spaghetti Western film, influence of Yojimbo, differences and similarities from mainstream Western films and the idealization of characters. While doing so… Martinez writes: “Marebito are mysterious strangers who appear in a town or village and who must be treated carefully, they bring blessings if they are treated well – giving them food and drink in the main – but can destroy a person or place if treated badly. Eastwood's Man With No Name character notably debuted in the 1964 Spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars, which was so blatantly modeled on … RELATED: 10 Best Movies By Black Directors, According To IMDb. Instead, he offers a purely cathartic fantasy where the evils of a corrupted society are dealt by a superhuman hero. Outside of being a writer for Screen Rant, he also works as a journalist and has risked his life for mere warzone photos. Kurosawa's samurai showdown structure and lawless provincial backdrops pretty much made Western adaptations a low-hanging fruit. Even audiences that have never watched movies like Rashomon, Seven Samurai, or Yojimbo will be familiar with their influence on western pop culture. Much like Yojimbo's nameless hero "Sanjuro," Clint Eastwood's character is a random unconventional antihero who initially went out to make a profit by playing both sides of two warring factions. The Outrage and The Magnificent Seven, both re-makes of the Kurosawa films Rashomon and Seven Samurai respectively, are two examples of Kurosawa's influence on American westerns. He had tried to show the ugliness of violence, but had perhaps misjudged and made it look cool and stylish. Sergio Leone took the plot and characters for his classic Western directly from Kurosawa's Yojimbo without authorization. A lawsuit followed, but the issue was ultimately settled out of court with Kurosawa and Toho receiving 15% of all sales of Leone’s film. Even seasoned Hollywood trendsetters such as Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant) are immune to the charms of Kurosawa's films. Another example is Django Unchained - a revisionist Spaghetti Western movie. The Bruce Willis vehicle moves the story to a western setting with a mercenary getting caught between the conflict of … It's about a father who suddenly has to face terminal cancer and wants to make his final days more meaningful, which is pretty much the same premise as Biutiful. It arguably helped the Spaghetti Western craze go worldwide when Sergio Leone made an uncredited remake named A Fistful of Dollars* with a taciturn Clint Eastwood. The final draft retained some of these original elements, such as a princess escaping war and two unlikely heroes helping her. Kurosawa was not the first one to go to Hammett for source materials: his other detective novels were turned into film noir classics like The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. Yojimbo means bouncer or bodyguard in Japanese. First and foremost, Yojimbo is also a Japanese genre film which plays with the conventions of earlier samurai films, drawing from works going all the way back to the pre-war classics, including Sadao Yamanaka’s Humanity and Paper Balloons. This will also give you two Teleport-spheres, but has no influence on his behaviour. Where its Akira Kurosawa influences are noticeable is in the camera tricks and framing, utilizing mostly either wide or up-close personal shots and mostly static action. At times almost a shot-by-shot remake, only transported into an old west setting, the film is notorious for having been completely unauthorised. Speaking of rain making everything more dramatic, the final entry in The Matrix trilogy is no stranger to this technique. (Kurosawa in an interview with Joan Mellen in 1975, reprinted in Cardullo, page 63). Ironic, that having borrowed from the Western, Kurosawa inspired one: Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964), with Clint Eastwood, is so similar to "Yojimbo" that homage shades into plagiarism. Leone was, as Prince noted, “very struck by the Western parallels in Yojimbo, and adapted that to a European framework. He wanted to show how artificial samurai films usually were, and how gruesome and horrifying killing someone can actually be. Western Influence. To begin with Spaghetti Western films, on the film the crew and the cast compose of people who come from different parts of … Yet, even in his most pessimistic films, Kurosawa had always aimed to educate, especially his young viewers, by showing that there are alternatives to the corruption, and a better way of living both as individuals and as a society. It is fascinating and a testament to the universality of movies that Yojimbo, which was influenced by westerns, would later have copious influences on films worldwide. It has been estimated that Kurosawa actually made more money from A Fistful of Dollars than from his own film. The climactic scene in The Two Towers, the Battle of Helms Deep, owes a lot to how Kurosawa handled Seven Samurai's final battle. Particularly in Episode IV: A New … The visuals make it very easy for us to spatially understand how places and people are geographically related to one another. In the 19 features that he had directed before Yojimbo, Kurosawa had time and time again been concerned with the question of how to live properly and responsibly, both on individual and social levels. Spaghetti Western movies definitely owe a lot to Akira Kurosawa and would not have been the same without his films. He points out that “Westerns have been made over and over again, and in the process a kind of grammar has evolved” and that he has “learned from this grammar of the Western” (Frayling 122). 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