The most celebrated Japanese filmmaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa produced a staggering body of work that stands as a monument of artistic achievement. Though best known for samurai epics like Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, his intimate, contemporary-set dramas, such as Ikiru and High and Low, are just as searing. The first serious phase of the director’s career came during the postwar era with Drunken Angel and Stray Dog, striking noirs that marked the beginning of his long-running collaboration with explosive leading man Toshiro Mifune. In the early 1950s, Kurosawa achieved worldwide fame with Rashomon, a landmark in nonlinear storytelling that ignited international interest in Japanese cinema. In the years that followed, the auteur carried on a fruitful dialogue with the West, drawing on everything from Shakespeare to Dashiell Hammett and perfecting cinematic techniques that would prove influential to such disparate filmmakers as George Lucas and Sam Peckinpah. Kurosawa closed out his career with a string of late masterworks, including Ran and Dreams, epic ruminations on human nature that make visionary use of color.