Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I by Shinobu Hashimoto

| May 12, 2015

If one mentions the films Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood and Rashomon in a single utterance, the first person that a cinephile would think of is Director Akira Kurosawa. While they wouldn’t be wrong in thinking this, there’s another creative mind that had his hands in the creation of such classics in Japanese cinema. Screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto is not only responsible for helping with these films, but he’s also crafted Japanese classics such as The Bad Sleep Well, Samurai Rebellion and Sword of Doom. Vertical Inc., publisher of great Japanese manga and fiction work, have managed to release Hashimoto’s Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I, which illustrates the history of their working relationship, as a hardcover that every cinephile should own.

Akin to becoming an essential companion piece to Something Like an Autobiography by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto’s Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I offers readers a first hand account at the creation of some of the greatest films of Japan’s golden age of cinema.

At 251 pages, Hashimoto’s account covers his humble beginnings of the craft of screenwriting to his eventual meeting with Kurosawa. From that point on, Hashimoto describes the working relationship that the two men craft together, along with their other collaborators in making films. From their initial meeting, to their long lasting careers together, Hashimoto writes about Kurosawa with a tremendous amount of respect. Even at points where the two men had disagreements, Hashimoto’s attributes nothing but compassion and admiration for the legendary filmmaker.

Vertical Inc.’s rendition of this autobiography is a beautifully bound hardcover, with a simple honeycomb style design dust jacket, that matches the elegant design work on many of their other fantastic publications. The book contains a few photo’s as well, to help give idea to many of the mentors, colleagues and collaborators that have worked with both men in the film industry. The translation handled by Lori Hitchcock Morimoto, is both clear and concise, that makes the autobiography an easy read through. This release from Vertical mirrors the attention to detail that they attribute to many of their manga releases, which are nothing short of magnificent and makes me clamor for more releases such as these.

Fans of Japanese cinema, as well as film historians should make it a point to read Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I, due to its immense profundity on both Hashimoto’s impact on cinema as a whole, as well as Kurosawa’s output as a filmmaker. Shinobu Hashimoto is one of the greatest screenwriters of Japan and this book can help English language speakers discover just a bit more about him, through one of the finest film books to be released in a long time. Vertical Inc. might not be known for releasing books like this, but with this release, they make it seem pretty effortless. Highly Recommended! 

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
Filed in: Books on Film
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