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Japanese Cinema Stray Dog

Uploaded by lancej13 on Oct 26, 2011

This paper discusses Akira Kurosawa’s detective thriller. (7+ pages; 5 sources; MLA citation style)

I Introduction

“Stray Dog” is a terrific detective story—a sort of Japanese film noir—from director Akira Kurosawa, and one of the earliest films he made with legendary actor Toshiro Mifune. Kurosawa himself said he doesn’t like the film, but audiences love it, and more people are discovering it all the time.
This paper discusses three sequences that I feel capture the essence of the film.

II General Observations

“Stray Dog” was made in 1949, and has a great complexity about it; it works on many levels. There is the basic detective story; there is also the story of the young man and his older mentor, which can also be seen (though I wouldn’t push the metaphor too far) as the struggle between modern Japan and its traditional culture; there is the struggle of Japan itself trying to find its place in the world; and there is the relationship between the young detective and the killer who is almost a mirror image.
The story is simple: a young detective named Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) has his pocket picked and his pistol stolen on a crowded bus; a woman leans against him and distracts him while her accomplice steals the weapon. There is a black market in guns (which tells us a lot about Japan in 1948) and he is determined to get it back, and sets off on a hunt through Tokyo. As he and his section chief, Sato (Takashi Shimura) follow up leads, Murakami becomes concerned, then obsessed with the idea that it is his pistol being used to commit crimes, and that he is somehow responsible for those crimes.
Eventually, Murakami and Sato discover the murderer’s girlfriend, and while Murakami stays and questions her, Sato goes to the hotel where she was supposed to meet the murderer, a young man named Yusa. Although Sato’s in plain clothes, he gives himself away, and Yusa shoots him while he (Sato) is on the phone with Murakami. Murakami hears this with horror, and rushes to the hospital to be with Sato, who is in serious condition; Yusa gets away. Finally, though, Murakami learns that Yusa will be at the station the following morning, goes there, finds him and, after a chase and a fight, captures him.
This brief outline doesn’t really do justice to...

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Uploaded by:   lancej13

Date:   10/26/2011

Category:   Film

Length:   8 pages (1,887 words)

Views:   1965

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