‘Shoot the Mountain’

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Akira Kurosawa shot his last film when he was nearly blind. It was an adaptation of Hamlet set in feudal Japan. It was an epic.

I watched a documentary on the making of the film. So the day is set up, 100’s of extras are ready, foot-soldiers, Samurai on horseback, a giant castle set.

This massive sequence, it’s been rehearsed dozens of times. Now they only need to shoot it.

As they roll on the first take a heavy fog falls upon the set.

The crew panic and turn to their leader, the ancient Mr. Kurosawa, perched in his directors chair above the whole scene.

‘Sir what will we do?’

Without pause he lifts a hand and points behind them all, past the hundreds of actors, the lighting rigs, the crew and the 360 degree replica feudal-era styled castle set.

The frail, near blind, auteur points to a back-lit mountain peaks with drifts of cloud pouring down over its shoulders.

“Shoot the mountain…”


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