Socialist Worker

A chance to see some Japanese classics

Issue No. 2705

Seven Samurai is available to stream on the BFI subscription service

Seven Samurai is available to stream on the BFI subscription service


The BFI’s Japan 2020 film festival launched on Monday of last week.

It began focusing on the films of Akira Kurosawa.

He’s the director probably most famous for Seven Samurai—later adapted as the Magnificent Seven—and Yojimbo, which became A Fistful of Dollars.

Both of those films are available to stream on the BFI’s website.

But so is Kurosawa’s adaptation of The Lower Depths, Maxim Gorky’s play about slum inhabitants in a society on the brink of revolution.

There’s also I Live In Fear, filmed in 1955—ten years after the US’s nuclear attack on Japan.

It’s about a man desperately trying to find safety for his family from what he fears is a coming nuclear apocalypse.


Edge of Darkness

The 2010 film Edge of Darkness is available on BBC iPlayer until Monday of this week.

It’s an adaptation of the seminal 1985 TV series about a police officer drawn into a conspiracy involving the government and the nuclear industry.

This version, set in Boston and starring Mel Gibson, is generally said to not be as good, but decent enough.

So maybe it’s worth a watch if you’re at a loose end.

Available on BBC iPlayer until Monday 25 November

The Company You Keep

Another film on BBC iPlayer, The Company You Keep, is about a former radical activist trying to escape as his past catches up with him.

Jim Grant, played by Robert Redford, is a former member of the Weather Underground—the real-life US radical left organisation that bombed government targets in response to the Vietnam War.

He’s wanted by the FBI, but living under a pseudonym—until a journalist discovers his real identity, and he’s forced to go on the run.

Available on BBC iPlayer until Monday 1 June

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Fri 15 May 2020, 17:05 BST
Issue No. 2705
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