Mifune: The Last Samurai
Dir. Steven Okazaki. 2016, 80 mins. Digital projection. Narrated by Keanu Reeves. Just as John Ford and John Wayne elevated the American western, exploring the human side of America’s violent expansion, Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and actor Toshiro Mifune transformed the chanbara film, the period sword-fighting movie, into provocative narratives that pushed beyond the boundaries of the genre to examine the role of the individual in society. The wry, charismatic, and fierce Mifune was also a pioneer, being among the first non-white action stars to attract international attention. Narrated by Keanu Reeves, Mifune: The Last Samurai explores the evolution of chanbara movies, Mifune’s rich collaboration with Kurosawa, and his fascinating path from war to stardom. Featuring interviews with Mifune’s son Shiro Mifune; Mifune’s frequent co-star Kyoko Kagawa; contemporary Japanese star Koji Yakusho; and American directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.