Like Mr Kerpan, I enjoy the Kurosawa films on a visceral level first.
I don't think his films are particularly philosophically "deep" - but I do think they work on a deep level ... if that makes sense. In other words, the philosophical question at the heart of Cure
- who am I? - is not a particularly subtle one, but it is a very basic one. Similarly Charisma
, with its whose-side-should-I-take,-and-does-any-of-it-really-matter-anyway question. Or Pulse
KK claims, in e.g. the interviews in the Mes/Sharp book, that he's "interested in the values the individual has come to embrace: for the individual to re-assess those values and understand the way in which those values he has come to embrace are in fact the forces that have come to oppress him."
Whether or not that sense comes through in his films or whether it is "deep", each can decide. [For me it does come through and, since I agree with it, I want to think it's important, if not necessarily "deep", whatever that means.] I sense that Mr Putney is seeing something else in the films, but I'm not quite sure what it is. He talks about "incredible insightful reflections on what can be said with film[m]aking and film[m]aking itself. there is a deep thread of film history in his films which can be unpacked over time", but I'm not quite sure what he means.
Perhaps he has in mind something KK said in the same interview, re Charisma
. It reflects what I see in some KK films. Kurosawa says that genre is a "starting point" for "an approach":
Kiyoshi Kurosawa wrote:Film is for me a medium point between fiction and reality. You start with a genre, which is fiction, and gradually move towards reality. Somewhere in between you find film. To put it simply: I would like to make a movie like Indy Jones, but there aren't any real people like Indy Jones. That's the beginning of my filmmaking.
It seems reasonable to me to conclude from statements like these that plot is a "skeleton" (Kerpan). But I also think there's something more than "just" plot and filmmaking at work in his movies. KK's one of the few filmmakers with whom I think I'd say "I agree".