Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Stray Man: Kurosawa's Stray Dog on DVD

Stray Man: Kurosawa's Stray Dog on DVD (Bright Lights Film Journal, August 2004 | Issue 45). "...Stray Dog (1949), Kurosawa’s ninth film, is generally considered his first masterpiece, or at least the first for which the term can be reasonably argued. And no wonder. All the elements that would distinguish his later work are in place. There’s the epic sweep, in which a very personal story focusing on a troubled individual(s) is told against a grand background, in this case the panorama of a defeated and humiliated occupied Japan. Dostoyevskian themes and motifs — humanism, class conflict, masculine pain and guilt, doppelgangers — abound. There are stellar performances throughout, including the first great teaming of Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura (in their fourth appearance together in a Kurosawa film). And of course the film’s elaborate visuals, formal complexities, and dramatic pacing announce a career that would be internationally acclaimed with Rashomon just a year later. If he misjudges or overdoes a few of the effects, as I believe he does, these are minor failures in a generally masterful work."


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