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Screening Room: Akira Kurosawa centenary screenings at Egyptian Theatre

"Recent Popular Cinema of Mainland China" at UCLA; "What's Opera, Doc? Animation and Classical Music" at AMPAS; Aero tributes to Peter Weller, Lorenzo Semple Jr.; LACMA screens Nicholas Musuraca

May 13, 2010|By Susan King, Los Angeles Times

Akira Kurosawa, the undeniable master of Japanese cinema, directed some of that country's seminal films, including "Throne of Blood" and "Rashomon." The American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre and the UCLA Film & Television Archive are celebrating the late filmmaker's centenary beginning Friday with "Ran," his 1985 samurai/Noh theater adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear," for which he was nominated for an Oscar for director. The film won an Academy Award for costume design.

His lengthy, brilliant 1954 drama, "The Seven Samurai," starring Takashi Shimura and Kurosawa's frequent collaborator Toshiro Mifune, screens Saturday.

Two more Kurosawa/Mifune collaborations — 1949's "Stray Dog" and 1963's "High and Low" — are scheduled for Sunday. And with those four films under your belt, you might as well catch up to 1970's "Dodes'Ka-Den" and 1955's "I Live in Fear" on Wednesday. The series continues through the following weekend.

Popular in China

Catch up on "Recent Popular Cinema of Mainland China" this weekend at the UCLA Film and Television Archive's Billy Wilder Theater with the 2008 drama "Li Shuangliang," directed by Huo Jianqi. Screenwriter Su Xiaowei will be present at the Friday screening.

Writer-director Han Zhijun and actor Zhao Xiaoyi will attend the screening of their 2006 film, "Two Women in Red Scarves," on Saturday. UCLA alumnus Peter Chan's 2005 musical, "Perhaps Love," screens Sunday.

Classical animation

Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino ("Up") will explore the most famous uses of classical music in animation at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's "What's Opera, Doc? Animation and Classical Music," Friday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Among the shorts to be screened are 1935's "Music Land" and 1950's "The Rabbit of Seville."

Semple screenplays

The Cinematheque's Aero Theatre honors actor Peter Weller on Friday with a screening of his 1987 sci-fi blockbuster "RoboCop," directed by Paul Verhoeven, and the rarely shown 1995 sci-fi thriller "Screamers." Weller will appear between films.

Sunday at the Aero, screenwriter Larry Karaszewski presents award-winning writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. between screenings of two films Semple penned: 1966's "Batman" and 1980's "Flash Gordon." On Wednesday, Karaszewski and Semple return for another double bill: 1971's "The Marriage of a Young Stockbrocker" and the 1968 cult fave "Pretty Poison."

Lens on Musuraca

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art pays homage to noir cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca at the Bing Theater beginning Friday with two juicy Robert Mitchum vehicles, 1947's "Out of the Past" and 1950's "Where Danger Lives."

Musuraca shot several horror films for producer Val Lewton, including two that are screening Saturday: 1942's "Cat People" and 1943's "The Ghost Ship."

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