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‘The Geometry of a Scene’ Highlights Akira Kurosawa’s Cinematic Vision

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I’m a Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting devotee, and since I’m suffering some gastroenteritis, his new entry in the series will be filling in for a more substantial post. But as always, he delivers a thoughtful look at what makes a film great versus meh.

bad sleep well

In this one, Zhou shows a quick look at two Hollywood films up for Best Picture Awards: The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, and he points out how uncreatively the scenes are shot, moving from simple coverage to close up to close up. He then compares that to a scene done by Akira Kurosawa, famed great Japanese film-maker. In Kurosawa’s work the mise-en-scene and blocking are used to create geometric shapes that shift and change to draw the eye deliberately to important spots in the composition. The effect is fluid, a deft movement from one spot to another without the boring cutting of classic Hollywood.

It’s worth checking out, to be sure.

Bonus: I found out that The Bad Sleep Well is Kurosawa’s Hamlet adaptation. Perhaps my students will be watching this after the AP exam this year.


Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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