Flick Pick

The long collaboration between the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and his alter ego, actor Toshiro Mifune, was one of the most fruitful in all of film history: The ideal vessel for Kurosawa's ideas and obsessions -- from the definition of classic Samurai honor to modern man's need for compassion -- Mifune was more than an actor; he was the embodiment of Kurosawa's Dostoyevskian view of the world.

Between December 27 and January 9, 2003, Landmark's Mayan Theater, First Avenue and Broadway, will show eight Kurosawa-Mifune classics (mostly in double features) that represent this unique artistic relationship at its best and nimbly reveal its range. These are all-new 35-millimeter prints. The schedule:

December 27-28: Throne of Blood (1957), Kurosawa's reinterpretation of Macbeth, transported to medieval Japan, and Stray Dog (1949), a vivid policier set in the underworld of post-war Tokyo. December 31-January 2: Rashomon (1950), the master's masterpiece, in which he examines the nature of truth as four people give different accounts of the same crimes, and High and Low (1963), a slick thriller (from an Ed McBain detective novel) in which a wealthy businessman is faced with a hard moral choice.

January 3-7: Seven Samurai (1954), the greatest swordplay epic of them all, and the inspiration for many imitations and remakes, including John Sturges's enduring Western, The Magnificent Seven. January 8-9: Yojimbo (1961), Kurosawa's beautiful hybrid in which Mifune's clever Samurai turns a land war between two bloodthirsty clans to his own advantage (remade as A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing), and Sanjuro (1962), the vivid sequel to Yojimbo, in which the heroic swordsman aids a band of young idealists dedicated to ridding their clan of evil.

For further information, call 303-744-6796.

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