Feature Four Frames

War as absurdity: Kihachi Okamoto’s Desperado Outpost

Desperado Outpost (Dokuritsu gurentai, Japan, 1959) starts with shots of a man on horseback in a landscape reminiscent of a Western. This hero is Japanese, and the action is set in the wide-open spaces of the Manchurian steppe in the summer of 1945 near the end of the Sino-Japanese War. Okamoto’s approach to the war […]

Feature Thousand Words

Toshiro Mifune – Intense acting and inventive spirit

When I began working on Akira Kurosawa, the pivotal role for his cinema of Toshiro Mifune (b. 1 April 1920 d. 24 December 1997) sprang immediately to mind. I could not help thinking how much Mifune’s presence and vitality contributed to the strong sense of movement in Kurosawa’s films. Mifune’s intense acting already fascinated the […]