Brow Beat

The Stunning, Geometric Style of Akira Kurosawa

Tony Zhou’s sharp, erudite video essay series, “Every Frame a Painting,” is a must-watch for any film fan. The latest installment is actually something of an outtake—it’s a discarded snippet of a longer piece on director Akira Kurosawa—but Zhou makes even its short three minutes teem with insight.

The subject is The Bad Sleep Well, which sees Kurosawa use wildly inventive compositions to keep conversation scenes interesting. As Zhou notes, these types of scenes can get yawn-inducing: When filming them, directors usually employ a boilerplate style of wide shots accompanied by close-ups. But Kurosawa’s method instead played with geometry, using actors and the set to literally shape a scene.

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