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The Magnificent Mifune

January 7 - February 2

"Toshiro Mifune was the first movie hero who wasn't a white guy. He didn't demean himself or belittle his culture. And he didn't take shit from anyone." — Steven Okazaki, director of MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI

From January 7 through February 2, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents The Magnificent Mifune, a seven-film tribute to the legendary Japanese actor who was instrumental in defining the modern action hero and raising awareness of Asian cinema in the west.

Toshirô Mifune (1920-1997) appeared in over 170 films, but he is best remembered for the ones he made with director Akira Kurosawa. The two men's careers were closely intertwined for nearly twenty years. It was Kurosawa, acting on an actress's tip, who spotted Mifune at an open-call audition in 1946 and persuaded the studio to sign him. Mifune's first role was in SNOW TRAIL (1947), written by Kurosawa, and DRUNKEN ANGEL (1948), his first film under Kurosawa's direction, is the one that the director considered his first truly personal work.

Mifune's dynamic performance spearheaded RASHOMON (1950), the film that gained international recognition for both Kurosawa and the Japanese cinema as a whole. From DRUNKEN ANGEL through RED BEARD (1965), sixteen of Kurosawa's seventeen films starred Mifune, many of them revered classics. Theirs was likely the greatest actor-director collaboration in movie history.

The series begins with the Chicago premiere of the acclaimed documentary portrait MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI. Featured are Mifune's signature roles for Kurosawa: the rapacious bandit in RASHOMON, the peasant desperate to be a samurai in SEVEN SAMURAI, the Macbeth-derived warlord in THRONE OF BLOOD, and the supercool swordslinger in YOJIMBO. Also included are Mifune's key supporting role in Mizoguchi's THE LIFE OF OHARU, and his conflicted samurai in the best of the films made by his own production company, SAMURAI REBELLION.

— Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first "The Magnificent Mifune" film on any applicable Saturday in January, and get a ticket for the second Mifune film that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)