Friday, August 12

Making films like Kurosawa


KUALA LUMPUR: The local film industry is now witnessing a revival with new titles released almost every month.

Nonetheless, some criticism have been leveled against local producers and directors especially for over emphasising on materialistic values and lacking on determination to come up with compelling productions.

This is among the observation made by Aswara’s (Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan) Film and Video Faculty Dean, Adman Salleh.

“There is a propensity towards materialistic values that include high production cost but not the determination to succeed with good quality productions,” he told Bernama during an interview recently.

As they failed to see things objectively, the storyline is not compelling and fails to engage the audience in meaningful way.

“We always see success from the materialistic viewpoint. That is why we end up making films costing millions thinking this will help the film penetrate international market. However, we are not being honest to ourselves and the audience.

“Worst still, many enter the industry to seek popularity though they don’t have what it takes to be in the industry in the first place and at the end the shortcomings are reflected through poor quality films,” he said.

This is where Adman believes local film-makers and students taking up cinematography can learn from their successful foreign counterparts including the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa who had won numerous international accolades for his remarkable contribution to the silver screen.

The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur, together with Aswara, proudly presents Akira Kurosawa Film Festival featuring 25 of his titles including ‘Seven Samurai’, ‘Rashomon’ and ‘Ikiru’ that had inspired many other leading film-makers of the world.

The event is being held in conjunction with the late director’s 100th birth anniversary.

Referring to Kurosawa’s glorious achievement, Adman pointed out the late director’s film ‘Rashomon’ produced in 1950 won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival several years after WWII.

The legendary director who also took on the role producer, editor and screenplay writer provided inspiration to many reputable directors in the West including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, John Woo and Zhang Yimou to do the same.

The editing method that Kurosawa used in ‘The Seven Samurai’ influenced the editing work in ‘The Star Wars’ and ‘Empire Strikes Back’.

Kurusawa’s remarkable story telling ability was recognised even by the highly respected literary figure Gabriel Garcia Marquez who watched his ‘Red Beard’ film six times.

Adman noted that the work of this illustrious director has provided inspiration for not only to many reputable directors in the West including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, John Woo and Zhang Yimou, but also to many of our own directors.

“Kurosawa’s influence can be seen in Tan Sri P Ramlee’s film ‘Semerah Padi’ and Hussein Hanif’s film ‘Istana Berdarah’,” he said.

“Kurosawa, had adopted great literary works of the West like Shakespeare’s plays and then inculcated Japanese elements that provided a distinctive storyline that even the West followed suit,” he said.

The 11-day long film festival that began on March 10 was opened by Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz.

Aswara’s Rector Datuk Dr Mohamed Najib Ahmad Dawa in is opening speech at the launch of the festival noted that the event was part of the effort to produce credible film-makers whose works would cross the borders like the works of Akira Kurosawa. — Bernama