Kurosawa. It seems a little trendy to triumph Ozu and Mitzoguchi in favor of Kurosawa these days in some cinema circles. Based on my humble film knowledge and my limited film viewing regiment (cough) I don’t agree and  am relieved to find the consensus still agrees with me (kurosawa is still rated above both on TSPDT). Again, Kurosawa has two films that many triumph as the best, or one of the 5 or so best, of all-time. He has a consistent narrative worldview, is a dynamic editor, and boasts a filmography of great depth.

Best film:  seven samurai. This is actually fairly close for me with rashoman on my mind. They are both brilliant films, in the top 10 of the 1950’s. Both are clearly very influential.

Most overrated:  ikiru.. I love the film (simply overrated because of the lofty consensus ranking) but I find the unending wailing by the bureaucracy in the last 30 minutes or so tough to get through. I just wish it wasn’t there or it wasn’t emphasized so much. The TSPDT consensus has it as the #112 film of all-time and I’m substantially lower on it. They also have it as his 3rd best film and as you can see below I have it 6th.

most underrated:  Yojimbo. TSPDT has it as #374 and I have it as a masterpiece (albeit a lower tier one). I have no idea how to explain how TSPDT underrates this film and its remake (leone’s fistful of dollars) so much. It’s probably Kurosawa’s most accessible and enjoyable film and it’s still packed with directorial flair and one of Mifune’s best performances. The sequel, sanjuro, isn’t nearly as good, but is still entertaining (simple Recommend/archiveable for me).

gem I want to spotlight:  throne of blood. You might think I have this above ikiru just because of my beefs with ikiru.  Not so. Throne of bloodis magnificent. Many critics have it as the best Shakespeare adaption of all-time (obviously ran is a candidate as well). Anyways, I’m putting the spotlight on it because it is not as well-known as the others in the top 5-6 so maybe there’s a chance you haven’t seen it.

stylistic innovations/traits: It’s impossible to talk about action sequence direction without talking about kurosawa. The use of slow-motion photography, crisp editing, combined with his dog eat dog worldview and cynicism (which is a great match for the adaptations of the bard as we’ve seen) are all traits of the great master.

top 10

  1. Seven Samurai
  2. Rashoman
  3. Ran
  4. Yojimbo
  5. Throne of Blood
  6. Ikiru
  7. High and Low
  8. Dersu Uzala
  9. The Hidden Fortress
  10. Kagemusha

Top 100 directors running list

100) Fuller– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 12 archiveable films

99) Cukor– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 18 archiveable

98) Demy- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

97) Jackson– 1 masterpiece, 1 HR, 3 archiveable

96) Miller– 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

95) Kazan- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

94) Sofia Coppola- 1 masterpiece, 3 HR, 5 archiveable

93) Zemeckis- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

92) Preminger– 4 must-see, 15 archiveable

91) Miyazaki– 2 must-see, 4 HR, 10 archiveable

90) Lubitsch- 4 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

89) Tati– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

88) von Stroheim- 1 masterpiece, 1 MS, 2 HR, 6 archiveable

87) Dardenne- 3 must-see, 3HR, 7 archiveable

86) Nicholas Ray- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

85) Iñárritu- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 4 archiveable

84) De Palma- 3 must-see, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

83) Minnelli- 2 must-see, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

82) Curitz- 1 masterpiece, 6 HR, 17 archiveable

81) Aronofsky- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1.5 HR, 5 archiveable

80) Preston Sturges- 4 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

79) Walsh- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

78) Gilliam- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 6 archiveable

77) Tarr- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 archiveable

76) Nichols- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 12 archiveable

75) Melville- 3 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

74) Sirk- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

73) Stone- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR, 9 archiveable

72) Almodóvar- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see 4 HR, 12 archiveable

71) Roeg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR 5 archiveable

70) Mizoguchi- 5 must-see, 3 HR, 8 archiveable

69) Wyler- 4 must-see, 8 HR, 18 archiveable

68) Jarmusch– 2 masterpieces, 2 MS, 1 HR 9 archiveable

67) Michael Mann– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR 8 archiveable

66) Visconti- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR 10 archiveable

65) Haneke- 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 9 archiveable

64) Linklater– 3 masterpieces, 5 HR, 12 archiveable

63) Satyajit Ray– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

62) Cuaron- 3 masterpieces, 6 archiveable

61) Cassavetes– 2 masterpieces, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

60) Cameron– 5 must-see, 7 archiveable

59) Huston- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 5 HR, 17 archiveable

58) Bertolucci- 1 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

57) Eastwood– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 15 archiveable

56) Fincher- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 9 archiveable

55) Ozu- 1 masterpiece, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

54) Capra- 3 masterpieces, 4 HR, 11 archiveable

53) Keaton– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

52) Peckinpah– 2 masterpieces, 2 HR, 8 archiveable

51) Chaplin– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 10 archiveable

50) Spike Lee– 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

49) Kiewslowski– 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

48) Dreyer– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 5 archiveable

47) Von Sternberg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

46) Fassbinder- 5 must-see, 4 HR 11 archiveable

45) Nolan- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archivable

44) WKW- 2 masterpieces, 1-2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archiveable

43) Herzog– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 9 archiveable

42) Ridley Scott– 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

41) Wes Anderson- 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

40) Lumet- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 4 HR, 17 archiveable

39) Polanski- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

38) Griffith- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 6 archiveable

37) Von Trier- 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

36) Bresson- 2 masterpieces, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

35) Wilder -4 masterpieces, 4-5 HR, 20 archiveable

34) Powell- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 10 archiveable

33) Rossellini- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

32) Spielberg- 4 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 18 archiveable

31) Cronenberg- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 14 archiveable

30) De Sica- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

29) Altman- 3 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 2 HR, 16 archiveable

28) Lean 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

27) Antonioni– 1 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 9 archiveable

26) PT Anderson- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable

25) Coen- 4 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 1 HR, 16 archiveable

24) Eisenstein- 1 masterpiece, 4 must-see, 5 archiveable

23) Allen– 4 masterpieces, 5-6 must-see, 4-5 HR, 29 archiveable

22) Tarantino– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

21) Murnau– 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable.

20) Leone– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 6 archiveable

19) Bunuel– 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

18) Ophüls- 5 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archivaeble

17) Malick– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 6 archivaeble

16) Lynch– 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 9 archiveable

15) Renoir- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 3 HR’s, 14 archiveable

14) Hawks- 5 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3.5 HR’s, 19 archiveable

13) Godard- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR’s, 12 archiveable

12) Lang- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 4 HR’s, 22 archiveable

11) Truffaut- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR’s, 19 archiveable

10) Tarkovsky– 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 7 archiveable

9) Welles- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR’s, 10 archiveable

8) Kurosawa– 4 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR’S, 16 archiveable