Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Red Beard (1965) - #159

We can only fight poverty and ignorance, and cover up what we don't know.

The arrival of Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard on my timeline of Criterion films provides a fine occasion for me to do something different on this blog that I've been contemplating for awhile... mixing in some other media formats beyond the usual written essay that I've used to cover every other movie since I started this series back in January 2009. For Kurosawa, Red Beard marked a definitive turning point in his career - though he went on to make quite a few great films, his partnership with Toshiro Mifune was severed after this production and he had to get through some very harsh, lean years to even begin recapturing the majestic heights he attained in his prime. But I'll have a lot more to say about all that in the embedded audio track that constitutes the bulk of my coverage of this great classic by the master AK.

The conversation you'll hear (by clicking on the link above) is an exchange between me and an online cinephile friend, Mark Hurne, who lives in Vermont. He and I have been in dialogue through Skype, email and social media for awhile now, and it seems likely that we'll find other ways to collaborate beyond this discussion. Who knows, maybe another podcast will grow out of it! We shall see. But for now, I invite you to listen to us offer some thoughts on a lengthy, monumental film that really does seem to sum up an era in the life of its director, its lead actor and, as we'll explore, Japanese cinema as a whole.

Here's a short bio that Mark wrote about himself and his interests. I've really enjoyed getting to know him and it seems pretty likely that we'll be working on other projects here on this blog and elsewhere in the future!

Mark Hurne from Burlington, VT is bit of an obsessive Criterion completest and a self-studying cinephile. His current film-related projects include: 

  • Future local film podcast with a Criterion disc review and a spotlight on an aspect of film. Our first spotlight will be the early gangster films. 
  • Burlington Film Society Programming Committee member 
  • Filmspotting Chicago-based film podcast Quality Assurance/Social Media contributor 
  • Podcasting with David Blakeslee of Criterion Reflections/Criterion Cast and others whenever I can! 
Why podcast? – I have a face for radio and yes a voice too. Film podcasting and reviews are an excuse to further my film knowledge with a specific focus that changes from month to month. My greatest Criterion passions include the directors Andrei Tarkovsky, Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Pierre Melville, Luis Bunuel, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Ingmar Bergman, and of course The French New Wave. My introduction to The Criterion Collection many years ago was with Seven Samurai, but it clicked four years ago when I saw Jules & Jim that The Criterion Collection included many films that are the best produced films outside of the United States. 

Contact Mark Hurne: Email Twitter Letterboxd

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