New Movies: Epic Vision

Even the modest projects of Japan's Akira Kurosawa are conceived and executed on a grand scale. Whether his subject is history (Seven Samurai), social commentary (The Bad Sleep Well), classic drama (The Lower Depths) or thriller (High and Low), Kurosawa invests each film with the breadth of an epic vision. Taken together, his films are like a single, vivid morality play, often heroic and sometimes cynical, celebrating the triumph of man over circumstance.

The audience for Kurosawa films in the U.S. has been severely limited by the vagaries of film distribution. Although Rashomon became an...

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