The epic samurai drama Kagemusha, one of Akira Kurosawa’s late-career masterpieces, certainly falls under the category of films that need to be seen on the big screen. How else to appreciate the thrilling battle scenes? The surreal dream sequences? And did we mention the thrilling battle scenes? The talented leading man, Tatsuya Nakadai, who has starred in many of Kurosawa’s films, plays a low-class criminal whose striking resemblance to a dying warlord thrusts him into the kingly role of impersonating the clan’s leader. Co-winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980, Kagemusha, incredibly, was almost never made because of jittery investors and trouble on the set until, finally, two of Kurosawa’s greatest admirers stepped in to rescue it: George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.

July 19-23, 2009