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. Kurosawa’s gloriously shot first color film displays all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion.
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This is a very different film from Kurosawa and like all of the masters who started out in black and white Kurosawa really knows how to utilize vibrant colors and at times this film has the tone of a Fellini film.
Plays like an odd collaboration between Walt Disney & Samuel Beckett. On one level, light comedy, fantasy & childish sentiment; on the other, the brutal reality expressed through abstract imagery & bizarre, theatrical scenes. The effect can be odd & disengaging, but entirely unique. The only thing more dazzling than Kurosawa's experiments with colour, light & composition is the sensitivity he shows to his characters.
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.
I thought it was a surprisingly detached drama coming from Kurosawa's storytelling standards, I was glad to see him so uninvolved in creating pathos and focusing more on multiple character studies that in the end may not get the proper treatment, but that amounts to a highly original and memorable approach to one of his usual subjects. Also, the color palette used here is gorgeous.
Cruel, bouleversant et désespéré, drôle et pathétique, dingue, étouffant unique et prodigieux un des plus beau film du grand maître Kurosawa. Un film comme un poème de Rimbaud un roman de Céline ou une peinture de Picasso qui ouvre des perspectives artistiques au futur tout en nous glaçant de la vérité du présent
In retrospect, it's easy to see why this was a commercial failure when it was released, and the performances don't help much, as many of the actors mug for all they're worth. Still, for a Kurosawa fan, this is worth watching just to see him play with colour and light on a new style of canvas for the first time, and the film's gentle humanism lingers after it's over.