High and Low: From Pulp to Poetry
- High and Low
- Akira Kurosawa
- 143 35mm
- High and Low: From Pulp to Poetry
- May 30, 2019 6:30
- June 1, 2019 8:15
- June 2, 2019 3:30
Akira Kurosawa’s morally complex noir thriller—“the masterpiece of Kurosawa’s modern-day movies” (Elliott Stein, Village Voice)—adapts American crime writer Ed McBain’s novel King’s Ransom. Gondo (Kurosawa regular Toshiro Mifune), a self-made tycoon in financial straits, receives word that his young son has been kidnapped. Paying the ransom demand will sink him; when it transpires that the kidnapper actually grabbed the chauffeur’s son by mistake, yet still wants all the money, Gondo faces a terrible dilemma. The suspenseful film’s first half unfolds mostly with the confines of a single room; the second half explodes into a frenetic police procedural. High and Low is one of Kurosawa’s most impressively formal works, with taut CinemaScope framing, marvellous deep-focus compositions, gripping set pieces, great use of mirrors and reflections, and ironic point-of-view interplay between high and low—or, as the Japanese title has it, heaven and hell!
The May 30 screening of High and Low will includea “From Pulp to Poetry” curator’s introduction from critic and author Donald Brackett.