David Stratton Curates an Akira Kurosawa Retrospective!

Screening at both the 2017 Sydney Film Festival and here in Melbourne at Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), David Stratton takes his curatorial eye to cinematic legend Akira Kurosawa. Showcasing ten of the revered film-makers greatest titles (7 of which on original 35mm film), Kurosawa is one of Japan’s finest cinema exports and, indeed, one of history’s greatest storytellers. Kicking off from May 25 @ ACMI, check out the press release below!


Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Sydney Film Festival, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and The Japan Foundation announce that David Stratton will present a program of 10 essential films directed by the great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

Entitled Essential Kurosawa: Selected by David Stratton, the curated films will screen as a retrospective program at ACMI from 25 May-8 June. Then as part of the 64th Sydney Film Festival (7-18 June) and at Canberra at NFSA’s Arc cinema (14 June-30 June).

This retrospective consists of ten of the finest films made by Kurosawa, from Rashomon (1950) to Ran (1985), with specially imported 35mm prints courtesy of The Japan Foundation and Toho Co. Ltd.

Akira Kurosawa was a master of action, influenced by directors like John Ford, who in turn influenced a younger generation of filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese.

Renowned critic and broadcaster, David Stratton, a former director of the Sydney Film Festival (1966 to 1983), will introduce the Sydney screenings and a number of the Melbourne and Canberra screenings.

David Stratton said, “During the ‘golden era’ of Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa was by far the best-known Japanese director internationally. His films were not only accessible, they were marvellously executed.”

“The best of Kurosawa’s films possess a grandeur combined with a common touch. No-one filmed action scenes like he did – his use of multiple cameras, long lenses and intricate editing combined to make these sequences unforgettable.”


The 10 films in the program are:

Rashomon (1950)

Living (Ikiru) 35mm (1952)

Seven Samurai 35mm (1954)

Throne of Blood 35mm (1957)

The Hidden Fortress 35mm (1958)

Yojimbo 35mm (1961)

High and Low 35mm (1963)

Red Beard 35mm (1965)

Kagemusha (1980)

Ran (1985)

ACMI’s Head of Film Programs, James Hewison said, “ACMI is once again thrilled to be working with the venerable David Stratton and of course our good friends SFF, NFSA and the Japan Foundation to be presenting this Kurosawa program. Audiences will have the chance to experience the majesty of this towering auteur’s work on the big screen, where it belongs.”

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, “Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most influential film directors of all time, Akira Kurosawa created many masterpieces in his over 50 years of filmmaking. Kurosawa really opened up the eyes of the western world to Japanese cinema, and with more than 30 films to his credit this retrospective is an essential guide to Kurosawa’s greatest hits, and certainly crucial viewing for film fans.”

Acting NFSA CEO Meg Labrum said, “Akira Kurosawa and David Stratton are masters of their respective crafts. We’re excited to welcome David to Arc cinema with Essential Kurosawa, and proud to continue our partnership with SFF and ACMI to bring these amazing retrospectives to Canberra for the third consecutive year. Arigato gozaimasu to all involved!”

The Japan Foundation, Sydney Director Yoshihiro Wada says, “We are excited to contribute to the Essential Kurosawa retrospective program through our 35mm film library. In this program, one can truly come to understand the breadth of influence Kurosawa has on film history throughout the 20th century. We sincerely hope that this retrospective will not only attract a wide audience, but also become an opportunity to deepen interest in Japan and Japanese films as a whole.”

A recipient of the Australian Film Institute’s Raymond Longford Award and named Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, David Stratton AM has also served as President of the FIPRESCI (International Film Critics) jury in Cannes and served on the international juries of both Venice and Berlin film festivals, authored three books and lectured in Film History at the University of Sydney. He co-hosted The Movie Show and At the Movies with Margaret Pomeranz for 29 years.


ACMI CINEMAS SEASON: Essential Kurosawa from 25 May

Tickets are on sale now.

$18 Adult, $14 Concession, $12 ACMI Member.

Tickets are available online acmi.net.au/essential-kurosawa, via phone 03 8663 2583 or in person at ACMI Fed Square.

ACMI will hold a lecture by David Stratton during its season. Check the acmi.net.au for details.


Sydney Film Festival tickets are on sale now for Essential Kurosawa: Selected by David Stratton screenings for $19.90 (Adult) each or Concession $17.00 + booking fee.

A special discount package of all ten films in the retrospective is available for $130 + booking fee.

Flexipasses and subscriptions to Sydney Film Festival 2017 are on sale now.

Call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.

The full Sydney Film Festival program is announced in May 2017.


Tickets to Essential Kurosawa at Arc cinema, NFSA (Acton, ACT) are $14 Adult, $12 Concession, and season passes ($75 / $80) also available. Tickets are available online http://bit.ly/EssentialKurosawa