FOCUS The Auteur and International Art Cinema

Akira Kurosawa was born 3 March 1910 in Tokyo, Japan, and died 6 September 1998 in Tokyo. The Seven Samurai was made at the height of the great director's creative powers. It is impressive, influential and an example of film as both high art and popular entertainment. After training as a painter, Kurosawa became engaged in cinema as a way of portraying movement. He began directing with Horse (Uma, Japan, 1941) and got his first director credit with Judo Saga (Sugata sanshiro, Japan, 1943). He...

FOCUS European Art Cinema Film as Political Art the Epic

1900 is undoubtedly 'epic' - it celebrates a century, it displays generations in conflict and in its original version lasted five and a half hours. The film's 6 million budget was supplied by three different sources 2 million from United Artists, 2 million from Paramount and 2 million from 20th Century Fox. Thus 1900 can be seen as an impressive example of the Holly wood Europe synergy - as usual the relationship was not unproblematic. The production went 3 million over budget, which might seem...

FOCUS Documentary Propaganda

Dziga Vertov's The Man with the Movie Camera is a remarkable film. It is unlike anything that came before or after it in Vertov's uvre, Soviet cinema or indeed the history of film. The film is a documentary made by one of the most prolific and vociferous defenders of non-fiction or 'unplayed' film. 'Unplayed film' neigrovaia fil'ma was the contemporary Soviet term for the genre. Vertov used the term 'unplayed' to highlight his 'Cine-Eye' Group's approach to using factual material. Thus it is...

FOCUS Italian Neo Realism Realism mise en scne

Ever since its first release, The Bicycle Thieves has been hailed as an important work an 'essential' illustrative text for film theory -namely, film realism. Over the years it has been cited in many of the regularly solicited lists of critics' most 'important', 'influential' or 'favourite' films. Whether or not The Bicycle Thieves is truly great cinema cannot of course be proved, but it remains a key piece of film history, representing perhaps the best all-round illustration of an influential...