Cinema: A Japanese Homer Nods

Akira Kurosawa is the Homer of the current cinema, and like Homer he some times nods. Yet in two pictures now showing in the U.S., the great Japanese director (Rashomon, Ikiru, Yojimbo) demonstrates that the energy of genius can make a miss almost as exciting as a hit.

The Idiot, a Japanization of the Dostoevsky novel, is Kurosawa's favorite Kurosawa picture. Made in 1951, the film ran on for 165 minutes. Appalled, Kurosawa's crassly commercial distributor (Shochiku) hacked it down to 90 minutes. The uncut original has never been shown in public—until now. Thanks...