Serge Silberman, the French producer of Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985), asked Chris Marker to make a behind-the-scenes portrait of the great Japanese director on the set of the film at the foot of Mount Fuji. Marker was one of a generation of documentary filmmakers who exchanged the "objective" documentary for a more subjective form, as is demonstrated by the voice-over he wrote. Making-of documentaries were unusual in those days, and Marker (whose love of cinema had previously led to loving homages to Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergei Eisenstein and Alfred Hitchcock) gave the genre his own twist by making A.K. a poetic, self-reflexive exploration of Kurosawa's oeuvre. The result is a work of art on the making of a work of art – an ode to Kurosawa in which it is principally the details that attract Marker's attention. In Marker's hands, the extras trying on their samurai costumes, the endless waiting and even the weather become ruminations on the nature of filmmaking. A.K. is divided into the chapters "Battle," ""Patience," "Faithfulness," "Speed," "Horses," "Rain," "Lacquer & Gold," "Fire," "Fog" and "Chaos," all themes that Marker saw throughout Kurosawa's work.
Serge Silberman for Greenwich Film Productions