Akira Kurosawa’s The Idiot on TCM

Turner Classic Movies celebrates the 100th birthday of Akira Kurosawa with a month-long retrospective of the director’s work. Every Tuesday in March features an evening of Kurosawa films. I wrote on a couple for the website,  beginning with The Idiot (aka Hakuchi) (1951), his adaptation of the Dostoyevsky novel.

Setsuko Hara and Masayuki Mori speak no evil in The Idiot

“This story tells the destruction of a pure soul by a faithless world.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky was one of Akira Kurosawa’s favorite novelists and a great influence on the director; he had long wanted to make his novel The Idiot into a film. After completing Rashomon (1950), he finally embarked on his passion project, which he transposed from 19th century Russia to a contemporary Japanese setting. Where Kurosawa took great liberties in adapting subsequent western works into Japanese contexts, from Shakespeare (Throne of Blood, 1957, and Ran, 1985) to Maxim Gorky (The Lower Depths, 1957) to Ed McBain (High and Low, 1963), here he remained almost totally faithful to the original novel.

Read the complete piece on the TCM website here. The film plays Tuesday, March 9, on TCM, and is available on DVD in a box set from Criterion’s Eclipse line.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I’m a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I’ve written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View.

I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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