Monday, March 14, 2011

A.K. (Documentary) (1985)

Call it the 'making of Ran', a documentary about Akira Kurosawa or a just a film about film! A.K. is a documentary made and edited by Chris Marker, the man who made one of the brilliant short film in French I’ve ever seen- ‘La Jette’, edited with captured still images. One has to watch the short to know the impossible magic of still frames and masterly editing which can move you like never before.

For the viewers expecting life story or comparative analysis of Kurosawa’s cinema will surely disappoint here. Unlike routine documentaries, Marker deliberately avoided direct conversation with Kurosawa or any of his crew members; he portrayed the whole film as viewer who’s like an admirable fan watching the filming process of Master on set without letting his own presence felt. He wanted us to carry this direct experience to be on Kurosawa set rather than stretching it with routine interview with the legend. We notice the Sensei sits amidst a crew, calmly, almost invisibly, directing the many sections into the creation of perfection. We see Master’s command over many facets of film- guiding actors to instructing crew like a military commander. It focuses on many integral elements of Kurosawa's cinema highlighting on location shooting of 'Ran', i.e.-Speed, action, weather, use of smoke, rain and horses and his faithful technical collaborators ranging from cameraman, sound man, set designer and the presence of Ishiro Honda, who worked as assistant director under Master till 1947 and made landmark ‘Godzilla’, the film Kurosawa wanted to direct from long.

Recommended to all AK & Chris Marker fans.


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