Monday, March 28, 2011

Something about music and opposites and Kurosawa

When I was in high school I sang in a band. We were pretty awesome with our ukulele solos, but this one time we played a show with a band called Roshomon. Now I'm not sure how a bunch of high school students knew that word, but it was the only way I knew that word until I was in my late twenties when I kept hearing about this movie that apparently took its title from that band those kids played in at my high school.

So I finally saw the film, and it was pretty cool, but then I saw Seven Samurai, and that was some good shit. Then I saw Ikiru and I was done. DONE, I say. Who knew a movie with no gun or sword battles at all would be the one to win me over?

Anyway, I love Kurosawa. LOVE. I inhaled his autbiography. My favorite part was the beginning, where he talked about how his teachers thought he was so dumb he was nigh unteachable, and lo, he turned out to be Kurosawa. I got a lot of cool things out of that book because he is, in the end, a great writer before he is anything else, but I'm going to talk about one thing in particular that I liked.

He said he realized one day that he needed musical queues as opposites. That if a character has a fight scene, you play music that is really serious and sad. I don't know - I'm paraphrasing and there's a dog in my lap so I'm not getting up to get the book to quote from it, but I liked that bit about opposites in music.

That doesn't mean you always have to have opposites, but I like when that happens. I always wanted to have a kickass action scene play over some ABBA. That's why I was so thrilled when Community did it. Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this but fuck it.

I love Kurosawa, is my point.


  1. I love Kurosawa, too. I took a class in film school that was just on Kurosawa. I got to see so many of his films. I also love Toshiro Mifune, one of the actors he used a lot. Stray Dog, High and Low, Throne of Blood, Ran - they're all awesome.

    I loved that class so much, I took another one, with the same Professor, that was on all different Japanese directors. More cool films. The Prof. was American, but had lived in Japan, studied film there, and spoke Japanese. Very cool guy.

  2. Hahaha, bamboo flute! Love it.

    I am so ambivalent about Kurosawa. I saw so many of his movies, perhaps 8 or so. Love Seven Samurai. And Yojimbo. Rashomon was amazing for the time and if we judge it for its achievement, amazing. In today's age, not so much. A bit like Citizen Kane. That being said, Kurosawa is the most influential filmmaker not named Hitchcock or Spielberg to the new generation of directors.

  3. Like Shaun of the Dead, when they were fighting Zombies to Queen?

  4. Kurosawa autobiography sounds yummy.

    Kubrick in Clockwork Orange, had a whole lot of fun with incongruous music.

    Attack of the Gas Station had fun with incongruous, brilliant use of music (and perfect, thus irreplaceable, thus too expensive to license in U.S., so hard to find, but worth the look.)

    I am so excited about Bright Future, by a more recent Kurosawa, Kiyoshi, cannot wait to see, dvd just arrived, all sparkly and pretty, and with the lovely Tadanobu Asano.

  5. I remembered wrong, was Survive Style +5 that had licensing issue (I Will Survive, Cake cover, flying through the sky, so perfect, entirely and triumphantly congruous, and now the song's in my head, not a bad thing), so Attack the Gas Station should be easy to find, for opposite music in film fun.

  6. It's called counterpoint.


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