March 26, 2017
Though his most famous work was done in black and white, Akira Kurosawa used color like no other filmmaker before or after him.
1970 was a big year for director Akira Kurosawa, because it was the year his first color film, Dodes’ka-den, was released. Up until this point, the Japanese filmmaker mesmerized audiences with his brilliant black and white films, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo, however, utilizing his expertise as a painter, the world was introduced to a kaleidoscopic imagination that had been hidden in achromaticity for 27 years. Philip Brubaker explores Kurosawa’s transition to color in this Fandor video essay.
When Kurosawa made the transition from black and white to color, he really transformed. In a Wizard of Oz-on-LSD kind of way, the director injected vibrant primary colors into his work, sometimes channeling his inner expressionist and splashing them everywhere or sometimes being very measured and carefully painting them. Either way he did it, he did it with a purpose.