Swiss cinema expert and self-proclaimed genius Xavier Poulis has formally accused Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa of plagiarism in a new book J’Accuse Akira. In the book, Poulis argues that Kurosawa began his career by imitating classic westerns like The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars and ended it by ripping off William Shakespeare, a noted Seventeenth Century ‘playwright’.
Poulis orders the fondue:
I first suspected something was wrong when I watched Rashomon, Kurosawa’s break out hit that wowed the Venice Film Festival in 1950. The film tells one story and then another character tells the same events but in a totally different way. And then again. It’s like he can’t think of anything to say so he just copies himself.
So all of his major films are copies?
Absolutely. Seven Samurai was ripped off Magnificent Seven and Yojimbo was Fistful of Dollars, he even managed to copy Star Wars years before Lucas thought of it.
But all Kurosawa’s films pre-date the films you say he copied?
Well, how can he have copied them? Surely, it’s more likely that they used his films as inspiration.
That would be the conventional view and would make a lot of sense. But I am a film theorist and influenced by Deleuze and so I fully subscribe to the notion of retrospective plagiarism.
But that doesn’t make any sense!
It doesn’t need to make sense it is theory.