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Kurosawa Film Festival: The Hidden Fortress

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Whenever a big-budget movie hits theaters across the nation, it's usually only a matter of time until its plot is compared to previously produced movies and rambunctious Internet users take to the message boards to engage in debates over originality. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was frequently compared to Forrest Gump when online users began posting mash-up videos on YouTube. Harry Potter and Star Wars have also been commonly compared.

However, many don't know the inspiration behind George Lucas' behemoth-sized film saga comes from a 1958 film titled The Hidden Fortress produced by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. In the bestselling book The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film by Star Wars scholar J.W. Rinzler, Lucas stated, "The Hidden Fortress was an influence on Star Wars right from the beginning."

Kurosawa would've turned 100 this year, and in honor of the famed director's birthday, the Idaho Japanese Association is hosting a Kurosawa film festival at the Flicks on two consecutive Thursdays. In addition to being the spark for Star Wars, his films have inspired box-office hits such as Speed and Ocean's Eleven. On Thursday, July 29, The Hidden Fortress, which follows the story of a group's efforts to free a princess's land and bring her to safety, will be screened. On Thursday, Aug. 5, Ikiru will be shown. And no need to worry if your Nihongo isn't up to par, as both films will have English subtitles.

Thursday, Aug. 5, 7 p.m., $10 adv., $12 door, The Flicks, 646 Fulton St., 208-342-4222, theflicksboise.com.