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Why Kurosawa Was a Master of Movement

Here’s another masterful film essay by Tony Zhou, this time on Akira Kurosawa’s use of movement in his films. Movement, you ask? Aren’t movies motion pictures and, thus, constructed around movement? Well, as a comparison scene from The Avengers shows, there is movement in the form of listless dolly moves and diffident head tilts, and then there is movement — elegant, multi-point master shots, vibrant background elements like wind and rain, and outsized expressions from actors that can replace pedantic dialogue. I especially like Zhou’s discussion of how Kurosawa cuts from stillness to movement. His appreciation here of Kurosawa has a lot to teach directors looking to add visual variety to their scenes.

By the way, Zhou is now on Patreon, the platform that allows fans to compensate creators on a piece-by-piece basis. If you have enjoyed Zhou’s “Every Frame a Painting” series, whether here at Filmmaker or elsewhere, consider signing up to support his long-term work.

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