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Akira Kurosawa Centennial

Thursday, August 19, 2010
7:00 p.m. The Quiet Duel
Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1949)

(Shizuka naru ketto). After union strikes and management crackdowns at Toho and Shintoho Film Studios, Kurosawa quickly joined Daiei for The Quiet Duel, involving a dedicated young doctor stricken with a terrible disease. “I thought the part would be good for Mifune,” Kurosawa recalled. “He had been a gangster; now he could be the doctor.” During the war, a doctor accidentally cuts his finger in an operation, and contracts syphilis from a patient’s wound; returning home years later, he refuses to marry his longtime lover for fear of contaminating her, and instead devotes himself to saving others. Mifune’s headstrong young character learns from his older, wiser father (Takashi Shimura), a pairing of young and old, student and master that Kurosawa would replicate a few months later in Stray Dog, featuring the same pair of actors. A Drunken Angel without gangsters, a Stray Dog without police, The Quiet Duel shuns genre pyrotechnics to focus on these two great stars and their stunning charisma.

• Written by Kurosawa, Senkichi Taniguchi. With Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Miki Sanjo, Noriko Sengoku. (95 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From The Japan Foundation, permission Kadokawa)