What We Can Learn From How Kurosawa Used Movement in His Films

Akira Kurosawa's films are some of the most lauded works in history. His fluid and multilayered use of movement not only generated visual interest, but also helped to tell the story and telegraph emotion. This great video essay examines just what made his use of movement so genius.

Kurosawa's films enjoy an enduring legacy as masterpieces, and they offer a treasure trove for filmmakers to learn from. Every Frame a Painting examines his use of movement in this video, arguably one of the most important components of his work. Whereas most filmmakers employ movement of the camera and blocking, Kurosawa took it much further, creating a fully integrated approach that brought together camera movement, atmospheric motion, blocking, and character gestures and movement that became a synthesis greater than the sum of its parts, in which visual interest was maintained at the surface and deeper, more complex nuances were expressed simultaneously. He used repetition and careful precision to condition his audiences so that he could call to mind a certain emotion merely by repeating a certain movement. It was a brilliant method well worth examining. As the video put it: "If you combine the right motion and the right emotion, you get something cinematic." 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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I absolutely LOVE Every Frame A Painting!!