• March is Akira Kurosawa month at Criterion. On the twenty-third, the great Japanese filmmaker would have been one hundred years old. For this centennial celebration, we will be posting trivia questions and other contests, and giving away a different prize every weekday. To see yesterday’s winner, check out the update on yesterday’s post.

    Today’s prompt:

    Cast an imaginary remake of your favorite Kurosawa film.

    Please respond by commenting below, and we’ll choose our favorite on Monday. You must reside in the U.S. or Canada and leave a valid e-mail address to be eligible for the prize (a DVD of Ikiru).

    UPDATE: Our winner is Alex Zechiel, who had this to say:

     

    Ikiru would make for an interesting American remake, mainly because to understand the real drama in the third half of the film, an understanding of Japanese culture and societal norms are necessary. To see a director manage to translate the courage that Watanabe’s character had into our American culture would be astounding.

    I think Gene Hackman would make for a good American counterpart to Watanabe; hell, we’ve already seen him faking stomach cancer in The Royal Tenenbaums, in which he gives one of my favorite performances of the last decade.

    Anna Kendrick would be a fine choice for Kimura; she’s just proven herself in Up in the Air, and using a still somewhat unknown actress could better detach the audience from any preconceptions.

    Watanabe’s son could be portrayed by Tobey Maguire; we’ve seen him in only one role in which he’s deviated from the norm, and that was in The Good German, in which his character dies much too quickly. Not that his character would be evil as in that film, per se, but I don’t recall liking Watanabe’s son too much on my first viewing of Ikiru.

    Finally, the novelist who Watanabe meets in the bar and who takes him out for a good time could be played by none other than Crispin Glover, one of our finest, strangest, and most underrated actors. I think he could bring a believability and quirkiness to the role that would suit the story very well.

    Wow, I actually kind of want to see this now.

     

    Congratulations, Alex!

13 comments

  • By Tom H.
    March 19, 2010
    07:28 PM

    Rashômon Tajômaru - Ed Helms Masako Kanazawa - Kristin Wigg Takehiro Kanazawa - Bill Hader
    Reply
  • By Telemachus
    March 19, 2010
    07:28 PM

    (forgot my email before) HIGH AND LOW This time set in a slum of Cuba, overlooked by rich american businessman Kevin Spacey, and his wife Julianne Moore. Their driver’s (Gael Garcia Bernal) young son is kidnapped by local desperate drug addict (Benicio Del Toro) for ransom. A group of Detectives, including an old expert (Brian Cox).
    Reply
  • By FredO
    March 19, 2010
    07:38 PM

    Rashomon Redux Steve Buscemi - A Woodcutter Bill Paxton - A Priest Paul Giamatti - A Commoner Benicio del Toro - Tajomaru Mark Ruffalo - The Samurai Maria Bello - The Wife Johnny Depp - The Medium John Goodman - The Voice of The Medium
    Reply
  • By hihuy
    March 19, 2010
    09:05 PM

    Dersu Uzala. It is set on a planet Akira. A group of explorers encounter an alien being who has been "one" with the land from the birth and thus able to save the party from perishing in the treacherous jungle-like terrain. Jeff Bridges as the explorer, Werner Herzog as the native Dersu. Directed by Harmony Korine.
    Reply
  • By Marko B.
    March 19, 2010
    09:24 PM

    Since many of Kurosawa's films have already been appropriated into American cinema, I am thinking that IKIRU would be a painfully relevant film for today's society. How many times have we seen some politician taking all the praise for something that someone else has worked hard for a long time. This type of remake would possible give the public a rather positive view of certain people in the system of bureaucracy who actually do want to help. The greatest thing of all is that everyone could easily identify themselves with a certain character from the story. However, shot by shot remake of this classic would not be as pleasing as appropriating this story in a contemporary setting, as American cinema has done before with his other films.
    Reply
  • By ZebulonPike
    March 19, 2010
    09:37 PM

    Seven Samurai Starring Howie Mandel as Kambei Harvey Keitel as Gorōbei Jack Black as Shichirōji Michael Fassbender as Heihachi Bi Rain as Katsushirō Daniel Day-Lewis as Kyūzō Robert Downey Jr. as Kikuchiyo Ernest Borgnine as The Village Elder Kris Kristofferson as Manzō Hilary Swank as Shino (ala Boys Don't Cry) Gene Wilder as Yohei and Tim Curry as the Bandit Leader
    Reply
  • By Patrick
    March 19, 2010
    10:05 PM

    Seven Samurai with the cast of The Hills, duh!
    Reply
  • By Karen M.
    March 19, 2010
    11:25 PM

    I would love to see a remake of "Ikiru" set in contemporary American society. As the doomed protagonist, I would have to go with Harvey Keitel. I have no doubt that he would bring depth to a role in which he is forced to face his own mortality, and it would be all the more heartbreaking to see the soul of a dying man crack through Keitel's famous tough-guy visage. As the young woman whom he connects with, originally portrayed by Miki Odagiri, I would cast Maggie Gyllenhaal, who was excellent in a similar role in the recent Academy Award-winning "Crazy Heart". As the main character's preoccupied son and daughter-in-law, I would cast Sam Rockwell and Cameron Diaz, respectively, because I was captivated by Rockwell's recent performance in "Moon" and I believe that Diaz has a wider range than most audiences give her credit for (see: "Being John Malkovich"). Finally, as the proatgonist's former co-worker who tries to change things after his death but realizes that things will just stay the same, I would cast the always-reliable Morgan Freeman, who would bring his usual wisdom and acting excellence to the table. Overall, I believe that, although it could never top the original, such an adaptation of "Ikiru" could introduce more people to the greatest filmmaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa.
    Reply
  • By moviefan19
    March 20, 2010
    12:01 AM

    Ah, well the remake would be The Hidden Fortress one of my favorite film of his. I would for a remake in Akira Kurosawa honor, not take his idea of fedual japan, but instead make this Europe, England exactly, The middle ages, instead of a samurai there would be knights, not such a big change. This could beat Braveheart at the boxoffice or Oscars if it ever happened. With the cast I would pick, it would be the best remake ever.. Because I love English History so much and with the basis of Kurosawa's plot, and some more input I could see it being a wonderful movie. The players: General Rokurota Makabe: Vincent Cassel, because he's a great actor I mean if you've seen La Haine or brotherhood of the wolves then you know he could play Makabe. He's good in period films. Princess Yuki: My favorite actress, Emily Blunt. She's talented and smart. She brings lots of heart to her character. She played Queen Victoria for god sakes, I mean of course she could do a period film. Tahei: Ah, Jonas Armstrong, he's semi popular if you've seen Robin Hood, or some other bbc shows you know him. But I really believe if given the chance he could do a film, I've seen book of blood, clive barker's newer movie and I loved his performance, he was emotional and hard edge, I seriously didn't think this was just another horror movie after I've saw it, since his performance was good. Oh yeah and of course Robin Hood, I loved that show because of him. To see him in this remake would be cool, if it ever happened, I know it's fake and just our opinions but seriously i see good things for Jonas Armstrong. Also he could do it as a period film... Matakishi : Sir Ben Kingsley, because you need a movie with him, he played Gandhi and did a wonderful job. I really think that he could play in any movie and make it good. I also think Kurosawa would have loved him if he ever got a chance to use him in his films. Izumi Nagakura: Ray Winstone, I know why him? Because he's so amazing and so overlooked for his performances, if I could cast him in any movie or really every movie I would, I just love him. Just some names that I think would do a good job. I would never want to see this remade though, or with my idea, but it's interesting to think.
    Reply
  • By TheRedBandit
    March 20, 2010
    03:47 AM

    "Crows" - the short from "Akira Kurosawa's Dreams" Martin Scorsese would direct (obviously) Leonardo DiCaprio - Filmmaker (Scorsese-like in appearance, but taller, obviously) Tatsuya Nakadai (The 8th Samurai)- Akira Kurosawa We open with Leo sitting in a theatre at a Kurosawa retrospective. Leo would stand and walk into "Rashomon" as the sun shines down through the trees. The reality of the film's story would continue to exist once Leo entered, but he would find Kurosawa sitting in place of the camera.The famous filmmakerwould be leaning down on one knee listening to the witnesses tell each side of their story. We would then follow Leo as he followed Kurosawa through films from throughout his career, showcasing his experimentations in genre, in cinematic styles, and between color and black and white. Kurosawa (near the end of his life) would speak to Leo about life and cinema, being honest about his hardships, but looking fondly back at his successes. The film would end in "Madadayo", with Kurosawa walking off into the sunset from the that film. Leo would leave the film and sit back in his seat and watch the reel conclude. The short could be called "Rain" considering Kurosawa's obsession with the weather, but I would leave the title up to Marty in the end. One can dream right?
    Reply
  • By tenderfoot
    March 20, 2010
    05:59 PM

    The lead role in my imaginary spaghetti western style re-make of ‘The Hidden Fortress’ would go to: (the part played by Mifune) --1968 era Charles Bronson I’d cast the wandering peasants or in this case leaderless bandits as: (Tahei & Matashichi) -- 1969 Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider) & 1969 Dustin Hoffman (Midnight Cowboy) And the Princess, but in this case the debutant and fortune heiress would be cast as: (Yuki) -- present day Rose McGowan (for her stubbornness) The opposing General now an opposing gun hand: (General Tadokoro) – 1966 Lee Van Cleef And finally the slave girl would go to present day Selma Hayek
    Reply
  • By Clay B.
    March 21, 2010
    09:35 PM

    I'd like to see "Throne of Blood"/ MacBeth redone as the story of a small time criminal group trying to hold their ground in modern day London. Russell (Taketori) and Jennings (Yoshiteru) are up and coming lieutenants in a criminal outfit run by Joeseph Colston. Colston orders the two to take out a rival who has been attempting to push into his territory. The job goes off without a hitch, however the murder is witnessed by an old woman who claims to see a future where either Russell or Jennings have taken control of the organization and extended it's influence well beyond the city's boundaries. Both men agree that the woman is senile and harmless, so they spare her. Russell makes the mistake of telling his girlfriend, Tera, about the hit and about the old woman. (and we know where the story goes from there). Russell - Idris Elba Jennings- Clive Owen Colston- Stellan Skarsgard Tera- Grace Jones ..... just kidding Thandie Newton
    Reply
  • By Michael L.
    March 22, 2010
    10:50 AM

    Yojimbo: Mel Gibson as The Samurai Edward Norton as Unosuke
    Reply