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Akira Kurosawa was born in Tokyo His father was a former army officer who became an athletic instructor At 17 Kurosawa enrolled at an art school and then worked as a commercial artist In 1936 he got a job as an assistant and scriptwriter to director at Photo Chemical Laboratories which became better known as Toho Studios the production company also behind Godzilla among other films By 1941 he was writing scripts and directing whole sequences The first film he fully directed was Sanshiro Sugata a tale of a student of judo who must defend himself against the disciples of the jujitsu dojo After a few more films he finally earned recognition in Japan for Drunken Angel about a yakuza Japanese gangster trying to reform The first film to get international recognition was Rashomon which is about a rape and murder in the forest and the mystery over who did it and why This was the start of Kurosawas most popular film period and the period that made him truly famous Seven Samurai started Kurosawas samurai series and is the most popular of all Kurosawas films in the West He was influenced by classic westerns In the story set in the 16th-century Japan farmers in a village are threatened by bandits They buy protection from a samurai warrior who recruits other samurai to defend the village Seven Samurai was imitated in the Hollywood production The Magnificent Seven The Italian spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood was also heavily inspired by Kurosawas Yojimbo starring Toshiro Mifune It was again remade in 1996 as a gangster story Last Man Standing starring Bruce Willis and set the in the 1930s Despite wide international fame Kurosawa suffered from depression in the late 1960s and early 70s After his latest film flopped at the box office he attempted suicide Once he recovered Kurosawa spent nearly four years with Dersu Uzala a Soviet-Japanese co-production set in
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