Kurosawa begins and ends with his lighting. Just like Spielberg, who he greatly admires. Every light in Journey to the Shore falters in comparison with the sun, while I’m not sure Spielberg has ever seen the sunlight. Death is described as a “dark spot.” Spielberg is obsessed with death, it’s all he films, whereas Kurosawa is the closest thing we have to a neorealist (Journey to ______), other than his other hero, Eastwood.
Which brings us to the film this seems…
Character: why bother? Screenwriters have come up with a thousand fake reasons, especially for action movies. Almost the entirety of this very long movie is spent on meticulously sketching characterizations: romantic relationships, personal histories, gestural tics... I don't think the primary purpose is some vague idea of "emotion"; I think it's more practical.
Sarris writes something about Murnau's world existing outside the frame of the camera, and some notion of this is basically necessary for narrative cinema. The frame is…
There is a thread that connects the work of Murnau, McCarey, Mizoguchi, Preminger, Renoir, Rivette, Rohmer, Rollin, Cottafavi, Ulmer, Hawks, and Warhol. For these filmmakers, the base unit of cinema is not the image, or the cut, or reality—it's change. An actor can walk from one side of the room to another, and by the end be an entirely different person: the film records the effect, and causes it. By some strange paradox, it's only possible by the steadiness of…