JAPANIMATION FESTIVAL @ BARBICAN CENTRE, LONDONPosted on 26 June 2007
[Tues 27 March ’07 ‘Magnificent Seven ? + Samurai 7’]
Since the dawn of cinema and the moving image, ‘samurai’ have been an icon for western culture. Optimising the height of Japanese tradition that is still attractive to many martial art fans alike.
In particular Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, ‘Seven Samurai’ (1954), has been re-patronaged by ‘Magnificent Seven’ (1960), ‘Seven Swords’ (2005) and the smash-hit anime series ‘Samurai 7’ (2005).
In honour of this, The Barbican Centre, London, hosted ‘Japanimation’ – a festival celebrating the importance of anime within Japan and its growing popularity abroad.
With an introduction and parallel critique between the 1954 version of ‘Seven Samurai’, and its anime adaptation, Helen McCarthy, co-author of The Anime Encyclopaedia, deftly demonstrated through chosen footage, the power of Kurosawa’s original. Showing how it has been brought into the new age, and revitalised, by the energy of Toshifumi Takitawa’s anime-design team.
Screening such an event at the Barbican Centre Cinema, rather than within another auditorium, places animation at the forefront along feature films, of western culture’s appreciation and changing attitude towards the martial arts.
The particular use of CGI within ‘Samurai 7’, and stunning hand-drawn animation clearly explains McCarthy’s motivation for suggesting that ‘Samurai 7’ might be for commercial distribution within mainstream culture, but it was developed as a piece of narrative, an art-form, a homage to Kurosawa’s greatness’.
MATV Community Manager
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