Akira Kurosawa was a muscular filmmaker. The forceful convergence of his out-sized ego and dictatorial tendencies, his unyielding quest for perfection and a craftsman’s approach to film-making, produced an oeuvre as brilliant and influential as any in movie history.
A versatile director with a wide-range of influences, Kurosawa was most often in top form at the helm of an epic. Few filmmakers were as capable with a genre that often devolves into self-indulgence, yet Kurosawa proved nearly peerless with such ambitious projects, directing several large-scale productions over his long career.
Perhaps his most widely known film, The Seven Samurai, concludes the Seattle International Film Festival’s short retrospective of his films with a screening Monday at SIFF Cinema (6 p.m.).
The plot centers on a village in feudal Japan that is powerless to stop constant attacks from a group of bandits, and hires a band of masterless samurai for protection. Enormously influential, it spawned a well-known remake (The Magnificent Seven) and inspired generations of filmmakers that followed.