Akira Kurosawa Retrospective

SIFF’s Akira Kurosawa retrospective begins with his classic 1949 film noir Stray Dog. Toshiro Mifune plays a naive detective whose pickpocketed gun is used on a crime spree. Tormented with guilt, he delves into Tokyo’s sordid post-war criminal underworld while trying to retrieve his weapon and catch the killer. Then he begins to feel a strange kinship with his unseen double. Could he, the upright cop, have gone the other way if society had dealt his cards differently? Kurosawa makes the heat and bustle of the city oppressive, then finally has his two antagonists duke it out in a pastoral oasis. There’s the sense that neither the policeman nor Japan can ever return to such an idyllic, innocent past ever again. Running through Feb. 15, the series also includes the 1963 mob thriller High and Low, plus samurai classics The Hidden Fortress and The Seven Samurai. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 6, 3:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 7, 3:30 & 6 p.m., 2010

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