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The most popular Japanese moviemaker of all time, Akira Kurosawa began his career by delving into the state of his nation immediately following World War II, with visual poetry and direct emotion. Amid Japan's economic collapse, moral waywardness, and American occupation, Kurosawa managed to find humor and redemption existing alongside despair and anxiety. In these five films, which range from the whimsically Capraesque to the icily Dostoyevskian, from political epics to courtroom potboilers, Kurosawa established both the artistic range and social acuity that would inform his entire career.