As usual, I am a bumpkin when it comes to using the 'conveniences' of the internet, but since my wife subscribed to Netflix, I thought I would try to give some old Akira Kurosawa film a look. I picked one I hadn't seen, "Samurai Rebellion."
And as I watched, it occurred to me that it was similar in some ways to the old American westerns. True it was richer, but there were similar simplicities hiding complexities. Kurosawa's infatuation with the samurai era, always a delight by costume and formalities and swash-buckling sword play, struck me as similar to director John Ford's westerns ... a bit studied, but hinting at a rich underpinning of humanity and culture.
I wouldn't want to try to write an essay comparing Kurosawa to the American westerns. Kurosawa is darker and more directly human. But the hints and whispers of another time are sometimes better in either venue than the venue itself. Good, if sometimes predictable, stories, with other stories lurking beneath, going unspoken.
Or maybe I am just a sucker for costumes.