A movie for Photography students
Perhaps you've seen or heard about this 1950 masterpiece of Akira Kurosawa.
If you haven't, here's a link for some info:
There is a 2008 film restoration, which is what I suggest, because original 1950 copies of the film are difficult to watch on todays displays.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award in Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Takashi Matsuyama, H. Motsumoto). It also earned a Blue Ribbon award for Best Screenplay.
Apart from the theme, directing, acting, etc, what makes the film valuable for photography study, is, first of all, the cinematography. Kazuo Miyagawa, shot directly into the sun; a practice that found immitators during the following years. Throughout the film, natural light is used, sometimes with the use of mirrors and reflectors.
Furthermore, Kurosawa symbolically plays with light and shadow constantly, in order to present and extend moral values. The film's photography, it's geometry and subject weight, is something anyone interested in improving his or hers B&W aesthetics, have to study in depth. Watch the film for what it is: a great movie; then go back and selectively freeze scenes. Then do it again, because it's certain you've missed a good deal. A whole world of ideas and concepts.
Very highly reccomended.
Here are some stills from the original 1950 film: