Film critic to attend Kurosawa symposium


Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. Southern will host a symposium discussing his work Tuesday, March 15, at 11 a.m. in Cornell Auditorium in Plaster hall.

A world renowned film critic is chairing a film symposium on Missouri Southern’s campus this Tuesday at Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall. 

Stephen Prince, author of 14 books on film and professor of film at the Virginia Tech School for Performing Arts, is offering insight on the works of Akira Kurosawa, renowned Japanese film director. 

The symposium, which starts at 11 a.m., meets to discuss the work of Kurosawa. Prince’s presentation, called “Akira Kurosawa: a Life in Cinema” will discuss the signature of Kurosawa’s style and discuss his influence on world cinema. 

The symposium continues at 3 p.m. with the panel discussion “Kurosawa: Sword of Cinema, Force of Life” featuring Prince, Stephen Teller (retired PSU faculty member) and Dr. Michael Howarth, assoc. professor of English and director of the Honors Program. Dr. Bill Kumbier, professor of English and Philosophy, to moderate. 

Prince, in his 20th year as a professor at Virginia Tech, is also editor of “Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind” as well as the former President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. 

The symposium is not just an opportunity for students, but also for staff. Dr. Howarth used Prince’s book “The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa” as a reference for his film minor thesis.  

Prince is considered the authority on Kurosawa, having been invited to campuses across the country, written several books on the director, and even performing the audio commentary on the Criterion Collection’s Kurosawa films. 

The Kurosawa film “Ikimono no Kiroku” [I live in Fear] plays that night at Cornell Auditorium in Plaster Hall at 7:00 p.m. as part of the 54th annual International Film Series. 

The Series is brought to Southern by retired Southern professor Harrison Kash as part of the Harrison and June Kash International Film Society. The International Film Series predated Southern’s international mission and influenced the movement to make Southern an international university. 

“[Kurosawa] was one of the greatest film makers of all time,” said Kash. “Japan was way behind in recognition in international film making. His artistic view developed out of a period of moderate to absent effort in Japan’s film industry. He worked very hard to make it a producer of great cinema.”

“Ikimono no Kiroku,” follows an elderly industrialist in Japan and atomic bomb survivor who, fearing the outbreak of a nuclear war, tries to move his entire extended family to the farmlands of Brazil. Taken aback by his actions his family tries to have him declared unfit to wrest control of his industrial empire away from him. 

Kurosawa is known for long lenses and multiple camera setups to remove the cameras from the actors and allow the actors to perform uninterrupted. Kurosawa added in the use of widescreen, something entirely new at the time, to detach the audience from their theater seats. 

Kurosawa is known for his absolute authenticity of sets for period pieces. Many of his films, including “Seven Samurai” and “Throne of Blood,” take place in feudal Japan. 

The Kurosawa Symposium starts at 11a.m. on Tuesday, March 15. Admission is free to the community. Come to enjoy a guided tour of the life of one of the most celebrated men in the history of film.