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The Hidden Fortress

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The Hidden Fortress

I recently watched Akira Kurosawa’s, The Hidden Fortress. I had heard great things about this film in the past but only a few days ago did I see it for the first time. I enjoyed watching the two bumbling peasants, Tahei and Matashichi, get into difficult situations only to find themselves allude from being killed on countless occassions and all the while becoming an integral part of Princess Yuki and general Makabe journey back into their own clan's territory. The cinematography is amazing and the plot has a universal appeal and now I know why it impacted George Lucas as he created the Star Wars saga.
When thinking about how I can incorporate this into my 11th grade U.S. history curriculum I was thinking of the civil rights era. Many of the themes we deal with focus on re-writing and re-thinking history and stereotypes we have of ourselves within the U.S. but also of other nations. I would create a film analysis worksheet where I would ask students to write down things they believe are distinctly Japanese and then look at themes they believe are universal and go beyond being Japanese. I feel the conversation that would follow after watching the film would be both engaging and exciting. The school I teach at is pre-dominantly Latino and screening The Hidden Fortress would be new and different for them. This assignment would fit perfectly in my Civil Rights era unit because it would provide students with a new view of Japanese film as Kurosawa wanted people to view his films, with an open mind.
edited by elopez on 1/15/2012