Weak Kurosawa patriotic drama that is not without merits (i.e. some beautiful shots of the production process, women's 'total mobilization' and hardships in the assembly line). Although idealization is momentarily curbed (burn-out, intra-group tensions, irritation), it is not sufficient to render this a plausible and noteworthy melodrama.
Malgré un évident arrière-fond idéologique marqué, le film ne s'égare pourtant jamais dans les classiques arcanes de l'œuvre de propagande dithyrambique lourdement orientée, permettant au réalisateur de peaufiner, et son style et sa façon quelque peu empathique de filmer des individualités en action ou en questionnement... www.cinefiches.com
Les films patriotiques sont quasiment toujours insupportables... L'esprit de dévouement et de fierté japonais amplifie cela... Certes la réalisation est correcte ; certes on peut déceler quelques éléments du futur grand cinéma de Kurosawa... パンダは、十分とアジア、この映画から期待することは何もありません！Par contre : 5/5 pour MUBI qui fait découvrir ce film ! Vrai document intéressant !
"I'll say it again: one can't improve productivity without improving ones character." Call it a sophomore slump, growing pains, or a blatant spit in the face of propaganda, but this jumpy, cut-up and downright mechanical film is the furthest from what became Kurosawa's style. A lot of experiments -some are successful. There are building blocks & themes he uses later but this film is an exercise in self discovery.
The propaganda elements make this semi-documentary very dated but little elements of Kurosawa shine through. From the editing & the effect of the individual vs. society and its consequences this is a solid film to the very last scene of Watanabe's tearful persistence that's eerily similar to Japan's losing fight in WWII.
Being more of a political device in its time than an actual work of art, Kurosawa shows sympathy towards the female workers and makes a good point showing the [lack of] working regulations during preparations for the war, but that is not enough to lift this material farther than the mediocre genre he was initially asked to work in.
Despite being a film Kurosawa may have never made, had the studio not demanded this of him - I believe he still made a film with great depth of character, portraying the immense value of self-sacrifice and hard work for each individual within a community that shares a common goal - despite being exploited by the nationalistic government.