Kurosawa at the Crest

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Toshiro Mifune (second from left) in a scene from "The Hidden Fortress."

Toshiro Mifune (second from left) in a scene from “The Hidden Fortress.”

The Crest Theatre, 1262 Westwood Blvd. in Los Angeles, will screen a series of films by legendary director Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998). The schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday, March 1, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.: “Rashomon” (1950, 88 minutes). A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, “Rashomon” is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people give different accounts of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife, which director Kurosawa presents with striking imagery and an ingenious use of flashbacks. This eloquent masterwork and international sensation revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema — and a commanding new star by the name of Toshiro Mifune — to the Western world.
  • Sunday, March 8, from 5 to 7:10 p.m.: “The Hidden Fortress” (1958, 126 minutes). A grand-scale adventure as only Kurosawa could make one, “The Hidden Fortress” (Kakushi-toride no San-akunin) stars the inimitable Mifune as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan’s princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films and was a primary influence on George Lucas’ “Star Wars.”
  • Sunday, March 15, from 5 to 7:30 p.m.: “High and Low” (1963, 143 minutes). Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in “High and Low” (Tengoku to Jigoku), a highly influential domestic drama and police procedural. Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel “King’s Ransom,” Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a treatise on contemporary Japanese society.
  • Sunday, March 22, from 5 to 6:50 p.m: “Yojimbo” (1961, 110 minutes). Mifune stars in Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic film. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by Sergio Leone and Walter Hill, this exhilarating genre-twister remains one of the most influential and entertaining films of all time.
  • Sunday, March 29, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.: “Seven Samurai” (1954, 176 minutes). One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, “Seven Samurai” (Shichinin no Samurai) tells the story of a 16th-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Kurosawa —featuring Mifune and Takashi Shimura — seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

Tickets are $10. For more information or reservations, visit http://crestwestwood.com/.

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