Posted by Larry Gleeson
Mifune: The Last Samurai (2016) is a celebration of Toshiro Mifune’s legacy and life told by those closest to him, is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Mifune is a feature-length documentary about the life and films of legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune. Okazaki utilizes archival clips, photographic stills and interviews with those who worked with Mifune. The film is narrated by Keanu Reeves.
The 1950’s and 60’s were a Golden Age for Japanese Film. In 1951, iconic Japanese Director Akira Kurasawa won the Golden Lion at Venice with Rashomon and Mifune putting Japanese films on the world scene. Kurasawa and Mifune would go on to collaborate on 16 films over an eighteen year period including renowned, classic films such of Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957) and Yojimbo (1961).
Telling interviews from Kyoko Kagawa, Takeshi Kato, Haruo Nakajima, Yosuke Natsoki and Sadao Nakajima reveal Mifune’s ardent preparation for roles, painstakingly researching and laborious rehearsal processes. Kurasawa rarely, if ever, gave Mifune specific direction on creating characters. Other interviews came from American directors Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg revealing the admiration and respect Mifune garnered not only in Japan but in Hollywood as well.
Toshiro Mifune was an inspiration for young actors who found his minimalist approach accessible. Often referred to as the John Wayne of Japan, Toshiro Mifune is The Last Samurai. Highly recommended! A cinephile’s dream!