Akira Kurosawa and Alfred Hitchcock are the indubitable titans of world cinema for every generation. As an accolade to these two legends, 17th International Film Festival of Kerala includes their ever-memorial films in the retrospective category.
Akira Kurosawa, the name itself is enough to describe him. His career of 57 astonishing years is the history of world cinema. Kurosawa has left his trademark in every section of film production, from writing to directing and producing to editing. Also known as the ‘Wind Man’, this Samurai of Japanese film industry marked the beginning of his career in 1936, following a brief spell as a painter. His career as independent director marked off with the film Sanshiro Sugata (Judo Saga) in 1943. The critically acclaimed 1948 film Drunken Angel, lined his reputation as the most promising and talented young filmmaker. This “tall man” of Japanese film directed 32 independently and another 24 as assistant directors, wrote for 71 titles, edited 17 and produced 11.
Until his demise in 1998 at the age of 88, Kurosawa was awarded with 63 international awards. He was felicitated with the Honorary Award in 1990 in Oscars for his cinematic accomplishments that have inspired, enriched and entertained worldwide audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world. In the retrospective category, his nine most astonishing films are featured.
In the Kurosawa retro category film for screening are Drunken Angel (1948), The Hidden Fortress (1958), I Live in Fear (1955), The Idiot (1951), Ikiru (1952), Stray Dog (1949), Madadayo (1993), Sanjuro (1962) and Sanshiro Sugata (1943), all of which are penned by himself. Drunken Angel, a career-turning point for Kurosawa, is on the friendship of a drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis. The film that had its doctor character inspired from a real life alcoholic doctor in Tokyo, won four awards in which two were for best film. BAFTA nominated film Ikiru is on the life of a bureaucrat trying to find a meaning in his life after discovered of having terminal cancer. At the Berlin International Film Festival in 1954, Ikiru was awarded the Silver Bear. Excluding this, it has another four awards in its name. The life of a retired professor in his autumn years, in the after war Tokyo is the storyline of Madadayo. The film was his last directorial venture and won six awards, which also include the best foreign film in the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, the UK-American filmmaker, re-defined the thriller genre films worldwide. He is still remembered as the innovator of suspense and psychological thrillers. After a most impressive career in the UK industry, this ‘Suspense Master’, moved to Hollywood. In his career of 75 years from 1921 to 1976, Hitchcock gained the place of cinema's most significant artists and the director who influenced lot of his successors to come to the industry. Hitchcock, who was awarded the Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire, directed 67, produced 28, wrote for 22, art directed nine and edited for three films. He was mostly seen in his film in guest appearances, which in total is 37, both credited and un-credited. His first directorial venture Number 13 was unfinished, which he himself produced. The first film with his directorial tag to be released was The Pleasure Garden in 1925. His films were inspiration of various scenes in the early James Bond films. He was nominated five times for Oscar but was awarded with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1968. In his career, he received a total of 31 awards and lot of honorary positions. Even though he is recognized for his talkies, there are master class silent films also in his name. In the festival, Hitchcock’s five silent films are to be screened.
Hitchcock silent films in the festival are The Ring (1927), Champagne (1928), The Lodger (1927), The Pleasure Garden (1925) and Downhill (1927). The Ring will be the inaugural film of 17th IFFK. The directors debut film The Pleasure Garden is on the life of dancer Patsy Brand and an adventurer Hugh Fielding. While Downhill is based on the play of same name and is the director’s fifth film. The Lodger is on the A property owner who suspects her new lodger to be a maniac killing women in London. A spoiled heir defies her father by running off to marry her lover but Daddy has a few tricks up his sleeve. This is the theme of the film Champagne. All these silent films were very effort fully restored by British Film Institute National Archive (BFI) and is part of BFI’s wider project, The Genius of Hitchcock.
With the nine Kurosawa and five Hitchcock films, a new window to master class films will be opened up to the delegates. These two unprecedented, Legendary and Icons of Cinema will add glory and enriches the films’ standards in the current edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala.