Academy to Salute Akira Kurosawa

Pictured here: A painting by Akira Kurosawa.Premiering a New Digitally-Restored Print of “Rashomon” and Unveiling a New Exhibition Featuring Kurosawa’s Original Artwork

Beverly Hills,Calif.(RUSHPRNEWS)AUGUST 22, 2008–The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will salute the life and career of director Akira Kurosawa during a three-month celebration that will include a retrospective screening series and a new exhibition showcasing the director’s original artwork, which has rarely been seen outside of Japan.

The kickoff will be Thursday, September 18, at 8 p.m., when the Academy will premiere of a new restoration of the 1950 masterpiece “Rashomon” in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Hosted by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, the evening will include a panel discussion with Kurosawa’s collaborators, friends and family, including son Hisao Kurosawa, who is the head of Kurosawa Productions. Following the film and discussion, the new exhibition “Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist” will be unveiled in the Academy galleries in Beverly Hills.

“An Academy Salute to Akira Kurosawa” will continue with screenings of five more of the director’s Academy Award®-nominated and winning films – “Kagemusha,” “Seven Samurai,” “Ran,” “Yojimbo” and “Dersu Uzala” – on Friday and Saturday evenings through October 4 (details below).
“Rashomon” was restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with the Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation and The Film Foundation.

The best surviving picture element was a 35mm release print, made from the original nitrate negative (which no longer exists), held within the collection of the National Film Center in Tokyo. The print was scanned at 4K resolution, and digital tools were used to clear the scratches, dirt and abrasions that existed in virtually every frame. The numerous pops, hisses, crackles and distortions on the print’s audio were also digitally removed.

“Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist” will present more than 100 of Kurosawa’s original pre-production drawings and paintings alongside many of the art supplies, calligraphy materials, annotated screenplays, props and hand-painted costumes that he used to explore and refine his artistic vision. Photographs, posters, marketing materials, correspondence and film clips illuminating his nearly seven-decade career will round out the exhibition.

In 1989 the Academy presented him with an Honorary Award (an Oscar statuette) “for accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world.”

The screening schedule for “An Academy Salute to Akira Kurosawa” is as follows:
At the Samuel Goldwyn Theater:
Thursday, September 18, at 8 p.m.
“Rashomon” (1950) – Premiering a new restoration, with special viewing of the “Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist” exhibition following the program. Set in feudal Japan, this crime drama depicts a violent incident from four different points of view, questioning the very nature of truth.

Academy Award winner (1951): Honorary Foreign Language Film Award (Japan)
Academy Award nominee (1952): Black-and-White Art Direction (Takashi Matsuyama; Set Decoration: H. Matsumoto)
Friday, September 19, at 8 p.m.
“Kagemusha” (1980) – Premiering a new print, with special viewing hours for the exhibition “Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist” from 6 to 8 p.m.
When a powerful warlord is mortally wounded, a common thief who bears a striking resemblance to him is called upon to become his “double” to maintain the clan’s aura of strength.
Academy Award nominee: Art Direction (Yoshiro Muraki), Foreign Language Film (Japan)

At the Linwood Dunn Theater:
Friday, September 26, at 7:30 p.m.
“Seven Samurai” (1954) – Premiering a new print
In 16th century Japan, seven wandering swordsmen band together to defend an isolated farming village against marauding bandits.

Academy Award nominee (1956): Black-and-White Art Direction (Takashi Matsuyama, Black-and-White Costume Design (Kohei Ezaki)
Saturday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m.
“Ran” (1985) – Premiering a new print

The story of King Lear, 16th century Japanese civil war history, and the legend of Morikawa, a feudal warlord with three sons, come together in this intense examination of family betrayal and the precariousness of human relationships.

Academy Award winner: Costume Design (Emi Wada)
Academy Award nominee: Art Direction (Yoshiro Muraki, Shinobu Muraki), Cinematography (Takao Saito, Masaharu Ueda, Asakazu Nakai), Directing (Akira Kurosawa).

Friday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m.
“Yojimbo” (1961)
In a village divided by rival factions, a samurai warrior who is courted by both sides devises his own plan to rid the community of its criminals.

Academy Award nominee: Black-and-White Costume Design (Yoshiro Muraki)
Saturday, October 4, at 7:30 p.m.
“Dersu Uzala” (1975) – Premiering a new print
Dersu Uzala, a hunter living alone in the taiga forests of Eastern Siberia, becomes a friend and mentor to a Russian Army engineer.

Academy Award winner: Foreign Language Film (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
Tickets to each of the Kurosawa retrospective screenings, including “Rashomon,” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase by mail, at the Academy box office (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), or online at www.oscars.org.

Doors open one hour prior to event. All seating is unreserved.

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood.

“Akira Kurosawa: Film Artist” will be on display through Sunday, December 14. The Academy’s Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor galleries, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, are open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The Academy will be closed during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend – Thursday, November 27 through Sunday, November 30.

Admission is free.
For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org/events.

Editors: Downloadable images are available at http://photos.oscars.org
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About the Academy
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards – in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners – the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.
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