Donald Richie on High and Low: "A morality play in the form of an exciting thriller. A self-made man (Mifune) is ruined by a jealous nobody (Yamazaki in his first important screen role) but goes on to do the right thing and in the end the camera observes more similarities than differences between the two. With a memorable mid-film climax on a high-speed bullet-train."
Akira Kurosawa's dynamic yet humanist films became immortal thanks to Richie's definitive book The Films of Akira Kurosawa (University of California Press, 1965; revised in 1984), in which Richie discusses Kurosawa's powerful cinematic styles and his ethical concerns. In High and Low, Kurosawa highlights the desperate efforts of a shoe magnate and the police who are trying to retrieve a kidnapped child. At the same time, he contemplates the class differences between the wealthy executive's lifestyle "high" on a hill and the slums located "below," where the kidnapper rages with anger. The film is based (somewhat loosely) on Ed McBain's novel King's Ransom.
Friday night's screening will be introduced by Kyoko Hirano, curator of the series and former Director of Japan Society's Film Program, and will be followed by a reception.
This screening of High and Low opens the film series: Richie's Fantastic Five: A Tribute to Donald Richie (1924-2013), Part 1.
TICKETS $12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors and students
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