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After training as a painter he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director making his directorial debut in 1943 After working in a wide range of genres he made his breakthrough film Rashomon 1950 in 1950 It won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and first revealed the richness of Japanese cinema to the West The next few years saw the low-key touching Ikiru 1952 Living the epic Shichinin no samurai 1954 Seven Samurai and the barbaric riveting Shakespeare adaptation Kumonosu jo 1957 Throne of Blood the later two showcasing the magnetic personality of Toshir Mifune who also starred in the two samurai comedies Yojimbo 1961 and Tsubaki Sanjr 1962 After a lean period in the late 1960s and early 1970s though Kurosawa attempted suicide He survived and made the Russian co-production Dersu Uzala 1974 and with the help of admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas the samurai epic Kagemusha 1980 which was in many ways a dry run for Ran 1985 his second Shakespeare adaptation He continued to work into his eighties with the more personal Yume 1990 Rhapsody in August 1991 and Madadayo 1993 Kurosawas films have always been more popular in the West than in his native Japan where critics have viewed his adaptations of Western genres and authors William Shakespeare Fyodor Dostoyevsky Maxim Gorky and Evan Hunter with suspicion - but hes revered by American and European film-makers who remade Shichinin no samurai 1954 as Magnificent Seven The 1960 Yojimbo 1961 as Per un pugno di dollari 1964 and Kakushi toride no san akunin 1958 as Star Wars 1977
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