by Tony Nigro
Akira Kurosawa needs no introduction, no survey class nor explanation. He is, without argument, one of the absolute greats of Japanese cinema and certainly the one who opened the eyes of most Westerners to his country’s rich movie history. So it’s only proper that today Criterion is releasing a mondo Kurosawa gift set that’s almost as ambitious as their Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films. The new set in question, AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa, has the epic scope of a required text and the tender touch of a labor of love. The films include favorites like Seven Samurai and Rashomon, both long in Criterion catalog, plus earlier and never before released entries like The Most Beautiful, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, and the Sanshiro Sugata films. Cheap it’s not, but valuable it is.