By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s Dodes’ka-den follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet as desperate as their circumstances are, each of them—the homeless father and son envisioning their dream house; the young woman abused by her uncle; the boy who imagines himself a trolley conductor—finds reasons to carry on. Kurosawa’s unforgettable film was made at a tumultuous moment in his life. And all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film. —The Criterion Collection
The son of an army officer, Kurosawa studied art before gravitating to film as a means of supporting himself. He served seven years as an assistant to director Kajiro Yamamoto before he began his own directorial career with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about the 19th century struggle for supremacy between adherents of judo and jujitsu that so impressed the military government, he was prevailed upon to make a sequel (Sanshiro Sugata Part Two). Following the end of World War II, Kurosawa’s career gathered speed with a series of films that cut across all genres, from crime thrillers to period dramas. Among the latter, his Rashomon (1951) became the first postwar Japanese film to find wide favor with Western audiences. It was Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai (1954), however, that made the largest impact of any of his movies outside of Japan. Although heavily cut for its original release, this three-hour-plus medieval action drama, shot with painstaking… read more
Good intentions don't make good movies. Kurosawa really wasn's thinking at all, as this is a picture about nothing, full of breath-taking images that really reflect an absence of thought about anything other than a sort of naive conception of "cinematic expressionism".There's no life in the shots and the movie never costructs its own time. All we have left is a sentimental, boring movie about people living in slums.
The first hour was incredibly uneven, but eventually it felt as if Kurosawa finally found his footing and the end result is very beautiful, moving at times and incredibly humanistic. The colors and production design were just out of this world and for a first color effort, this is just amazing to look at. Despite it's flaws, it's human moments remind me of why Kurosawa is my all time favorite filmmaker.
Kurosawa’s first in colour expresses his fascination with his new lens, in a radical departure for a new decade, and a new phase: a rainbow-junkyard lollapalooza of misfits and flakes, in a motley celebration of life and all its walks, or something like it; its loose, intermingling vignettes and their rambling arcs forming its hyperreal microcosm of society. More typical of Gilliam’s sideshows - decidedly undecided; yet for all its oddity, its art direction and askew pathos remain untouched.
The concept behind the box is simplicity itself, exemplified by its title: "25 Films By Akira Kurosawa." This is released in commemoration
so goes the mantra of Rokuchan, a boy with a mental handicap of some sort; believing himself to be a trolley car conductor, everyday he runs into town… read review
After five years of frustration, in which he couldn’t find funding for “Runaway Train” and was fired from “Tora! Tora! Tora!”, Akira Kurosawa returned to film-making with this wildly episodic adaptation… read review