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David Bordwell on Sanshiro Sugata

Over on the Criterion Channel, we’re bringing film school into your home with our monthly series Observations on Film Art. Hosted by esteemed film-studies scholars David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, and Jeff Smith, who recently collaborated on the eleventh edition of the enormously influential textbook Film Art: An Introduction, this exclusive program introduces various elements of cinematic style by examining how they are deployed in individual works. Back in November, the series debuted with a segment about the musical motifs in composer Alfred Newman’s score for the Hitchcock thriller Foreign Correspondent. In the latest installment, which premieres today on the Channel, Bordwell offers an in-depth analysis of the editing techniques in Akira Kurosawa’s 1943 debut feature Sanshiro Sugata, an exhilarating tale of a martial-arts rivalry that showcases the director’s preternatural mastery of his medium. Get a sneak peek at the program in the below clip, then head over to the Channel to watch the full episode along with Kurosawa’s film.

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