film making

“For me, film-making combines everything. That’s the reason I’ve made cinema my life’s work. In films painting and literature, theatre and music come together. But a film is still a film”.

Ranked number 6 by the American magazine Entertainment Weekly and by the british magazine Empire’s compilation of “The Greatest Directors ever!” Akira Kurosawa is one of the most influential, creative and passionate directors from the last century, and his work and techniques keep inspiring and attracting people all over the world.

During his 50 years of career, he managed to direct a little over 30 movies. But not only did he work as director, he was also involved as producer, screenwriter and editor (it is said that, after an entire day of shooting, he took the film and started editing overnight).

He was, what people would call, a “creature of habits” too, he always worked with the same staff because he considered them the best of their field and he had grown fond of them. Also, being such a perfectionist, he always wanted things to go his way; for example, he made his crew make a river flow in the opposite direction to get a certain effect, he demanded the roof of a house to be removed because it didn’t look good enough for the scene, he made the actors wear their costumes several weeks before in order for them to appear worn out and more accurate for the movie, he had archers shoot real arrows to the actors at close range to make add realism, and he had an enormous palace built near Mount Fuji only to burn it down after one scene.

Kurosawa’s techniques included different cameras, placed all over the set, to capture the action from distinct points of view, and keep the actors from knowing which camera was actually filming them and turn to it. Another technique was taking advantage of the weather to enhance the events of the story; like intense heat, cold wind, snow, fog, and, one which he was particularly fond of, heavy rain (one time, he even poured calligraphy ink in the water to make it look more dramatic).

As stated earlier, he has a screenwriter as well, so he decided get inspiration from famous writers’ plots to build his own stories, though he made adaptations too. Kurosawa used Shakespeare’s plays “Macbeth” and “Hamlet”, Leo Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” and Vladimir Arsenyev’s “Dersu Uzala”. He adapted novels from famous authors such as Dostoevsky’s (his favorite writer) “The Idiot” and Maxim Gorky’s “The Lower Depths”.

His movies had mostly American and Japanese influences. He admired Frank Capra, Howard Hawks and, most of all, John Ford. From the Japanese culture, he often used references to the Noh theaters and the Jidaigeki.

Among his movies we can find:

– Sanjiro Sugata.

– Drunken Angel.

– Stray Dog.

– Seven Samurai.

– Throne of Blood.

– The Bad Sleep Well.

– Ran.

“When I start on a film I always have a number of ideas about my project. Then one of them begins to germinate, to sprout, and it is this which I take and work with. My films come from my need to say a particular thing at a particular time. The beginning of any film for me is this need to express something. It is to make it nurture and grow that I write my script- it is directing it that makes my tree blossom and bear fruit.”

My favorite actor: Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp: actor, musician, director, producer, writer… what else can he do? There’s only one word that could describe him: versatile; and that feature of his makes him my favorite actor of all times.

Depp has played such a wide range of characters, people have often called him a chameleon. He was the scary (but lovable) teenage freak in Edward Scissorhands; he’s also been the hopeless romantic inChocolat; and, most recently, he was John Dillinger, a murderer and a thief, in Public Enemies. Even though he’s had many different roles, each with a very complex personality, he’s given a believable performance and has received several awards thanks to it.

Although he’s an actor, his first love was music and, over the years, he’s managed to have a rather successful career as a musician. Actually, when he was a teenager, he wrote a few songs for the punk bandRock City Angels, which were used for their debut album. Also, even after he started acting, he still performed at the bar called The Viper Room with his band P, whose members included Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers among other notable musicians. Nowadays, his love for music still lives on, having participated in the movie Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which is an adaptation of a famous musical from the 70’s.

Aside from being and actor and a musician, he’s also gotten involved with the work behind the scenes, turning into director, producer and writer. For example, in 1997, he turned the novel The Brave into a movie, which he directed and in which he acted. Three years later, he was named executive producer for the upcoming movie The Rum Diary (which he also stars).

In short, Johnny Depp is a very talented and multifaceted actor, who’s been able to mix his skills successfully in order to obtain good results. And that’s why he’s my favorite actor.