If you are in New York and of the opinion that black and white films are boring then I have a screening to recommend for you thanks to the Japan Society.
Stray Dog (1949) is the famous classic police procedural from Akira Kurosawa where a cop goes looking for his missing gun. It is set during a sweltering summer in a bombed-out post-war Tokyo which is suffering from a heatwave. The characters, all sweating and seething in the heat and at their circumstances, search high and low for the missing weapon or try their best to conceal what has happened to it leading to a detailed investigation which creates a highly atmospheric and eye-opening view of Japan. We see soldiers returning from war, criminality, black markets and get a glimpse of a wrecked city and you see the police trying to keep order. Tension runs high all the way to a messy and breathless climax.
The film stars Akira Kurosawa’s regular players, Takashi Shimura (veteran cop) and Toshiro Mifune (the rookie who loses the gun). It screens in honor of what would have been Mifune’s 96th birthday.
The film will be screened on Friday, April 01st at 7 PM at the Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017.
Here are more details on the film including a synopsis part adapted from the Japan Society:
野良犬「Nora no inu」
Release Date: October 17th, 1949 (Japan)
Running Time: 122 mins.
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writer: Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima (Screenplay),
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Isao Kimura, Keiko Awaji, Reisaburo Yamamoto,
Synopsis: The story takes place in Tokyo during a brutal heatwave, A rookie detective named Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) is travelling on a crowded city bus when a pickpocket lifts his gun. He has to scour the bustling streets of downtown Tokyo for clues, aided by a seasoned section chief (Takashi Shimura). As Murakami gets closer to recovering the pistol, however, the distinction between himself and the criminal who stole it starts to become less and less clear. Stray Dog plunges deep into the anxiety and moral ambiguity of immediate postwar Japan with Kurosawa’s masterful visual flair.