Ever since I truly began to love and appreciate movies, my favorite director has been Akira Kurosawa. And largely due to that, my favorite actor has been the great Toshiro Mifune. The first time I saw him in Seven Samurai, in a performance best described as viscerally unpredictable (he would maintain this through his career), I was hooked and needed to see everything he was in. Considering he appeared in more than 160 movies that became sorta tough.
Kurosawa and Mifune would make multiple movies together, from Rashomon to Yojimbo to Throne of Blood, and starred in the epic Samurai trilogy by Hiroshi Inagaki. Kurosawa famously said of Mifune, "I am proud of nothing I have done other than with him". Those are pretty strong words coming from a legendary filmmaker.
So now Mifune's life and career is being celebrated in a new documentary, Mifune: The Last Samurai, directed by Steven Okazaki with narration by Keanu Reeves, who is a well-known fan himself. The film, which features commentary by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, chronicles Mifune's prolific career and fast life, which saw him indulging in a number of personal demons that eventually caught up with him. The film only just screened at Venice and Telluride, with the expectation that it will hit theaters in December.