The Gathering Storm
Kurosawa Study Day

Join us for a day of talks and discussions exploring the less familiar aspects of Kurosawa’s work while also celebrating his cinematic legacy. A selection of expert speakers will explore various topics, including the role of women in Kurosawa’s films, the periods of history his films cover, as well as the curios that defy broader definitions of Kurosawa’s oeuvre and the generations of filmmakers he has inspired.


  • 12:00 Welcome and introduction by Ian Haydn Smith
  • 12:05 Presentation: Kurosawa’s Women: Thinking in Categories, by Dolores Martinez
  • 12:35 Panel Discussion on women and Kurosawa, with Dolores Martinez, Forum Mithani, Alejandra Armendáriz-Hernández, and chair Julia Stolyar
  • 13:30 Lunch Break
  • 14:30 Presentation: Ian Haydn Smith on Kurosawa’s miscellany
  • 15:00 Panel Discussion: Asif Kapadia and John Maclean on Kurosawa’s influence over them
  • 15:45 Comfort Break
  • 16:00 Presentation: Remake, Adaptation or Homage: Kurosawa’s Filmic Influence, by Dolores Martinez
  • 16:30 Panel Discussion with John Maclean, Ian Haydn Smith and Dolores Martinez on Kurosawa’s influence on Hollywood and Western film
  • 17:00 Event Ends

Alejandra Armendáriz-Hernández is a Ph.D. candidate at University Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid (Spain), writing a dissertation on female authorship and representation in the films directed by Tanaka Kinuyo. She has been a visiting researcher at the Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and Birkbeck, University of London. Her research, teaching and publications include the study of women filmmakers in Japan, gender representations in East Asian culture and transnational film connections between Japan and Latin America.

Ian Haydn Smith is a writer, editor and broadcaster. He has written and spoken widely on cinema and the moving image. Formerly the editor of the International Film Guide, Curzon and BFI Filmmakers Magazines, he is currently the editor of the BFI London Film Festival and Flare guides, Sheffield Doc/Fest guide and an advisor to London East Asian Film Festival. He is a regular interviewer for the BFI and BAFTA, most recently hosting the Screen Talk with Alejandro González Iñárritu at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival and the BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture Series event with Hirokazu Koreeda. As a writer, publications include The Short Story of Photography, A Chronology of Film and, most recently, Well Documented.

Asif Kapadia is an Academy Award, BAFTA, Grammy and European Film Award winning writer/director, best known for his trilogy of films exploring the price of fame; the double BAFTA-winning Senna (2010), Amy (2015) – which won the Best Documentary Oscar, Grammy and BAFTA and the BAFTA-nominated Diego Maradona (2019).

Kapadia’s debut feature The Warrior (2001), starring the late Irrfan Khan, shot in the desert and Himalaya of India won BAFTAs for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a Director as well as being nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language. Kapadia directed episodes of Mindhunter (Netflix) for David Fincher, he exec produced 1971: The Year Music Changed Everything. He co-directed and exec produced the mental health series
The Me You Can’t See. Kapadia is presently in production with 2073, a dystopian film on ‘the state of the world’ (Neon, Double Agent & Film4).

John Maclean is a Scottish film director, screenwriter and musician, best known for writing and directing Slow West, starring Micheal Fassbender. John was a member of the Scottish indie-rock group The Beta Band from 1997 to 2004, and then The Aliens. He also directed music videos for these bands, which came to the attention of Micheal Fassbender, who agreed to be involved in a short film, the Bafta-winning Pitch Black Heist and later the feature Slow West.

Dolores P. Martinez is Emeritus Reader in Anthropology with special reference to Japan at SOAS, University of London and a Research Affiliate at ISCA, University of Oxford. She has published on maritime anthropology, culminating in her Identity and Ritual in a Japanese Diving Village (Hawaii, 2004), and has also written on tourism, religion, gender, and popular culture in Japan, as well as on women’s football in the USA and humour in science fiction films. She is the author of various articles about the films of Akira Kurosawa and of the monograph Remaking Kurosawa (Palgrave 2009). Among her more recent publications are: Gender and Japanese Society (Routledge 2014); Assembling Japan (as a co-editor, Peter Lang 2015); Persistently Postwar (as co-editor, Berghahn 2019), and has recently co-edited Re-creating Anthropology (Routledge 2022). Her current research is on the anthropology of the imagination, particularly in relation to imaginaries of the future.

Forum Mithani is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based at Cardiff University, where she previously held the position of Lecturer in Japanese Studies. Her research interests span Japanese media and popular culture, gender, motherhood, feminism and social minorities. Her publications include the Handbook of Japanese Media and Popular Culture in Transition, and she is currently working on a monograph on representations of motherhood in contemporary Japanese media and literature.

Dr Julia Stolyar holds a PhD from SOAS, University of London. Her research looks at construction of national identity through media, specifically television, in Japan and South Korea and the way the practice of transnational drama remakes affects this representation. She explored national identity through the representation of violence, power and agency, and emotion. She has published and given talks on television in East Asia and transnational remakes and is currently exploring representation of fatherhood on Korean and Japanese television.

Stray Dog (Nora Inu)
Wed 1 Feb 20:35; Mon 13 Feb 18:10
Drunken Angel (Yoidore Tenshi)
Thu 2 Feb 18:20; Fri 10 Feb 20:40
The Silent Duel (Shizukanaru Kettô)
Thu 2 Feb 20:40; Sat 11 Feb 18:40
Sanshiro Sugata (Sugata Sanshirô)
Fri 3 Feb 18:20 (+ intro by Ian Haydn Smith, season co-curator); Sun 12 Feb 15:50
Sanshiro Sugata Part Two (Zoku Sugata Sanshirô)
Fri 3 Feb 20:45; Sun 12 Feb 18:20
The Gathering Storm: Kurosawa Study Day
Sat 4 Feb 12:00
Living (Ikiru)
Sat 4 Feb 17:50; Wed 15 Feb 20:15
Kurosawa and Shakespeare, Adaptation and Reinvention: An illustrated talk by Adrian Wootton
Sun 5 Feb 15:15
Sun 5 Feb 17:30 (+ intro by Adrian Wooton, CEO of Film London and film curator); Sat 11 Feb 11:50; Sat 25 Feb 17:20
I Live in Fear (Ikimono no Kiroku)
Mon 6 Feb 18:10; Mon 13 Feb 20:40
Dreams (Yume)
Wed 8 Feb 20:30; Sun 26 Feb 15:30
Red Beard (Akahige)
Sat 11 Feb 15:20 (+ intro by Ian Haydn Smith, season co-curator); Sun 26 Feb 17:25
Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jô)
Sun 12 Feb 13:00; Fri 17 Feb 20:40; Tue 21 Feb 18:10
Dersu Uzala
Thu 16 Feb 18:10 (+ intro by Ian Haydn Smith, season co-curator); Mon 27 Feb 20:10 (+ intro by Doug Weir, BFI Technical Delivery Manager)
Yojimbo (Yôjinbô)
Sat 18 Feb 20:45; Thu 23 Feb 20:15 (+ intro by Asif Kapadia, season co-curator)
Rhapsody in August (Hachigatsu no Kyoshikoku)
Sun 19 Feb 18:30; Sat 25 Feb 12:40
Mon 20 Feb 20:20; Tue 28 Feb 18:00
Philosophical Screens: Throne of Blood
Tue 21 Feb 20:10
Wed 22 Feb 20:50; Sat 25 Feb 20:45
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