For a variety of reasons, Western audiences have welcomed Kurosawa as the preferred director of Japan’s golden age. He’s considered less "Japanese" (and thus more "universal") than either Mizoguchi or Ozu, and more action-minded than either of those directors. While Mizoguchi’s legend rightly rests largely on his subtle plumbings of the plight of women, and Ozu’s on his quietly devastating analysis of the family, Kurosawa’s subject has mostly been men – the forces that assail them from within and without and their often violent responses. His films offer a kind of tempered exoticism, transporting for Western audiences but also rooted in familiar, universal genre forms – for example, recasting the American western as a samurai drama in his most celebrated film, Seven Samurai.
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