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The aesthetics of Kurosawa and Disney: Composing Movement


Every Frame a Painting presents a really excellent study of movement in the films of Akira Kurosawa. If you’re even vaguely interested in film, you’ll enjoy it. Better yet, you’ll enjoy increasing returns from it in future as you bring your heightened cinemasense to every film you watch – and as you’re inspired to catch up on Kurosawa classics you’ve missed.

Bonus: If you’ve ever wondered why many modern action and adventure films leave you feeling disengaged despite decent plotting and amazing special effects, this video puts forward a decent theory at 4 minutes 45 seconds. (More on this in the footnotes.)


Disney’s The Old Mill (1937) is a good place to take those sharpened senses. Many of the techniques of movement from the AFAP video are there – most obviously weather, but also movement of individuals and crowds, camera movement from individuals to groups (and back again), and shots with clear beginnings, middles and ends that tell complete stories in and of themselves.

See also:

New Wave: the Hybrid Hokusai
“I read a line and I like it enough to read the next”: George Saunders on Stories as Linear Temporal Phenomena
Utagawa Hiroshige and Jakob Nielsen: Art vs Design
C. Thi Nguyen: games and agency; games as art
Primitive Communism and Armadillo Legs; Jangle, Fuzz and Transcendence
Prussian Blue

Bonus Material:

For a different take on similar themes, check out Chris Stuckman’s The Problem with Action Movies Today

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...