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Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard

The Akira Kurosawa epic in 35mm!

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Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard

One of Kurosawa’s most accomplished films, Red Beard was his final picture with Toshiro Mifune and a moving swan song for one of the most iconic auteur/actor teams in cinema history. Its protracted production process frustrated Mifune, who couldn’t take any other work during the entire two-year shoot (because of the titular beard he had to grow). A whole 19th century rural village was constructed from historically accurate wood, only to be demolished for the film’s devastatingly naturalistic earthquake sequence. This is low-key Kurosawa, the warrior-director at his most introspective, presenting an existentialist masterpiece about the human condition. Fans of Ikiru, I Live In Fear or Stray Dog will not be disappointed.

“Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard is assembled with the complexity and depth of a good l9th-century novel, and it is a pleasure, in a time of stylishly fragmented films, to watch a director taking the time to fully develop his characters. 4 Stars.” – Roger Ebert

“A masterpiece. Kurosawa somehow manages to imbue every moment of this three-hour-plus movie with the transcendent vitality and intelligence of a great Victorian novel.” – Michael Sragow, The New Yorker

Mark Ayala discusses Red Beard on the New Beverly blog.

Akira Kurosawa
Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomo Yamazaki, Reiko Dan
Running Time
185 minutes

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