Understanding The Work: Kurosawa and ‘The Cape House.’

5 Mar

Hey all,

Last week, I delivered a new draft of The Cape House to my producer Carolyn, and we are gearing up to start raising funds.

This got me thinking: I have to direct this thing.

Of course I’ve known that all along, but suddenly it’s becoming very real.

I’ve always viewed The Cape House as something of a thriller, believe it or not. A thriller about understanding your parents and understanding yourself. But I figured it would be a hard thing to do: how to make something so domestic and small feel thrilling?

Then I saw this.

Kurosawa uses composition, shape, and subtle performance to racket up tension, and clarify storytelling. No one has done it better. The second I saw this video, I e-mailed it to Carolyn and said ‘we need to show this to our potential DPs.’

But there’s also something deeper about this video, and how it relates to my life and my first feature film.

One of my first exposures to foreign cinema came at the public library in my hometown of Duxbury, Massachusetts. One summer, when I was about 15, they were screening Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai on an August night. My family was actually on the Cape that weekend, but my mother had to come home, and I asked her to drop me off at the library so I could watch the film.

It was an incredible experience. Watching the film made me realize how influential Kurosawa was. I recognized shots from Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, and many more films I loved as a teenager.

After the film, there was a discussion about the significance of the film. It was my first exposure to cinephiles, and I was in heaven.

There’s no doubt that was a defining moment, and that Kurosawa is, as for many, an important figure in my life. That this video appeared around the same time I started picturing my film in my head feels pretty significant.

Coincidentially, High and Low, one of Mr. Kurosawa’s best films, is screening at MOMI this weekend. Check it out if you can. It’s amazing.

See you all soon.