After his great Shakespearean adaptations of Hamlet (Throne of Blood) and Hamlet (The Bad Sleep Well) Akira Kurosawa wanted to make a King Lear, but got distracted making a Prince and the Pauper. Lear would make a more straightforward presence in Ran, which we'll watch in the future, but first comes Kagemusha which still manages to talk about the nature of power and futility in a rather Lear-y fashion. It's also his most historically-based period piece, in a way that suggests Kurosawa was trying to tell his audience to knock it off with idolizing the historical period many of his most popular films took place in.
Take two of the greatest actors to ever appear in film -- Takashi Shirmura and Toshiro Mifune -- add one of the greatest film directors -- Akira Kurosawa -- working in his best genre -- police procedural as social commentary (see also High and Low) and you end up with 1949's Stray Dog, a brilliantly perfect film.
In 1934 Yasujiro Ozu made the silent and black-and-white A Story of Floating Weeds and it was a nearly perfect film. When he remade it in 1959 in color with sound as Floating Weeds it is just as nearly perfect in different ways. He did excise some of my favorite bits from the original, but its fascinating to see a master artist revisit his past work with the fresh eyes of age and experience.
This week's With Two Brains finds us doing things we should have done already. Adam attended an opera. Pat finally finished Daredevil. They are equivalent actions!
Also, Dear White People, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Hellboy, Vincent D'Onofrio, police procedurals, and Japanese Postal Customs. It's a big week!
This week Pat and I are down with the sickness and talk about American healthcare experiences and politics, as well as reexamining The Librarians and Warehouse 13. It's long and fun and yes.