Tony Zhou on Akira Kurosawa: A video essay on the director’s magical use of movement in his films (VIDEO).

How Director Akira Kurosawa Mastered the Art of Movement in Movies

How Director Akira Kurosawa Mastered the Art of Movement in Movies

Brow Beat has moved! You can find new stories here.
Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 22 2015 5:27 PM

How Akira Kurosawa Mastered the Art of Movement in Movies

akirazhou
Kurosawa understood motion’s innate power more than most any director.

Still from Vimeo

Back in January, Tony Zhou shared a sharp little video essay on Akira Kurosawa’s geometric style, a video that was technically culled from a much larger, more expansive piece on the director that Zhou was still fine-tuning. That piece is now finished, and it’s a bracing analysis that applies Zhou’s insight to Kurosawa’s use of movement in general.

What kind of movement, exactly? Zhou argues that Kurosawa uses four types—movement of nature, movement of groups of people, movement of individuals, and movement of the camera itself—to enhance a scene, whether through establishing a narrative rhythm or highlighting a character’s personality. He supplies plenty of evidence to support those claims, including a fun compare-and-contrast with an Avengers scene, and by the video’s end it’s clear that few directors have matched Kurosawa’s respect for the inherent power of motion on screen.

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter