Kurosawa's 100th birthday commemorations

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The Independent Culture

The 100th anniversary of esteemed Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa's birthday on March 23, is being celebrated with festivals and events including a screening of one of the director's most renowned films, Seven Samaruai, free-of-charge for the public in downtown Los Angeles, California.

Two of Japan's top directors, Shinya Tsukamoto and Hitoshi Iwamoto, will participate in a Q&A discussion before the noon showing, staged by Anaheim University, at the Bonaventure Hotel (http://www.movie-voters.com/9301.html).

The legendary Kurosawa directed 30 films and received the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1989 as one of the most important and influential filmmakers, and great visual cinematic artists. He was inspired by literature and films, from Shakespeare to director John Ford. In turn, he has inspired directors such as Martin Scorsese who stated, "Kurosawa was my Master."

In addition, other anniversary events include:

The Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) is hosting a 24-hour marathon spanning the filmmaker's career, March 23. It starts with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), Kurosawa's first feature, and shows the epic Kagemusha (1980), produced by George Lucas and Francis Coppola, and ending with Ran (1985) - Kurosawa's lavish adaptation of King Lear. As part of its month-long "Spotlight on Kurosawa," every Tuesday in March, the cable channel features 26 of Kurosawa films in this retrospective including classic masterpieces, such as Yojimbo and Rashomon (www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=290029).

The University of Southern California in LA presents an 'Akira Kurosawa 100th Anniversary Tribute' with a double-feature screening of Throne of Blood (1957) and High and Low (1963), March 26 at 6 pm. The School of Cinematic Arts in association with The Criterion Collection and Janus Films sponsors the event at Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall on campus.

Rizzoli publishes Akira Kurosawa: Master of Cinema, an illustrated volume about the filmmaker, timed this month for the centennial of his birth. With a preface by Kurosawa's daughter and a forward by Martin Scorsese, the author, historian Peter Cowie addresses the director's craft and style through photographs, annotated script pages, sketches, and storyboards. The cost is $75 (http://www.rizzoliusa.com/).

A deluxe 25-disc set, The Criterion Collection: AK 100, features 25 films with an illustrated book featuring notes by Stephen Prince on each film  ( The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa) and a remembrance by Donald Richie ( The Films of Akira Kurosawa). It retails for $319.

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