Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three parts, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition (Ningen no joken), adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji (handsome Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet POW. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best. —The Criterion Collection
Masaki Kobayashi (小林 正樹, Kobayashi Masaaki, February 14, 1916–October 4, 1996) was a Japanese director.
Among his films is Kwaidan (1965), a collection of four ghost stories drawn from the book by Lafcadio Hearn, each of which has a surprise ending.
Kobayashi also directed The Human Condition, a trilogy on the effects of World War II on a Japanese pacifist and socialist. The total length of the films is over 9 hours. Other notable films include Harakiri (1962) and Samurai Rebellion (1967). Harakiri won him an award at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, solidifying his place in the history of cinema.
He was also a candidate for directing the Japanese sequences for Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) but instead Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda were chosen.
Kobayashi, himself a pacifist, was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, but refused to fight and refused promotion to a rank higher than private. —Wikipedia
Epic work, surely one of the greatest film projects ever made.The Subject is changing under the weight of the human condition.A perfect theme masterfully conducted.It's a pity that Kaji will remain only an ideal for a man.I hope that such a deep approach to movies will once again return to the screens.Kobayashi has raised the use of pathetic element to a higher level and emotionally torn the the spectator at the end.
Masaki Kobayashi's six-part magnum opus, The Human Condition, based on Junpei Gomikawa's postwar novel, bears the imprint of Kobayashi's tutelage
After watching The Human Condition (1959-1961), one gets the feeling that Akira Kurosawa was like the quitter(s) in Masaki Kobayashi’s trilogy. They called Kurosawa a coward (he tried to commit… read review
A rather harrowing experience.
At first I was upset that my one-dvd-at-a-time netflix plan would not allow me to marathon it, but in retrospect, I am glad that I watched it over the course of… read review
9 and a half hours of war atrocities and human suffering. Beautifully filmed, poetic eloquent language, and a very depressing ending. If I had to count any flaws was some of the acting was really… read review