Kirosawa’s Blocking | ‘High & Low’


Blocking in film is defined as “the placement and movement of figures in a space, for the purposes of telling a dramatic story.” Director Akira Kurosawa’s ‘High and Low‘ is a masterclass in blocking for cinematic effect. Kurosawa meticulously planned out the movements of his actors in relation to the camera, to focus the audiences’ attention on the details of his choosing. The body language and positioning of multiple actors within scenes in High and Low showcase Kirowsawa’s attention to the fine-point functions of blocking. His placement of cameras and actors:

  1.  Reveals who the characters are; that is how they would actually move given who they are and the situation they are in.
  2. Combines individual elements into a tableau that can be read as a single image.
  3. Controls what part of the image the audience pays attention to at any given time.

This excellent review by CineFix breaks down each function point by point with footage from Kirosawa’s 1963 classic.

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