7.8/10
1,307
13 user 15 critic

Ninjô kami fûsen (1937)

The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chôjûrô Kawarasaki ...
Matajuro Unno, a samurai
Kan'emon Nakamura ...
Shinza, the barber
Tsuruzô Nakamura
Chôemon Bandô
Sukezô Sukedakaya ...
Landlord (as Sukezo Sukedakaya)
Emitaro Ichikawa
Noboru Kiritachi
Shizue Yamagishi ...
Otaki, Matajuro's wife
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Toshio Arashi
Daisuke Katô ...
Isuke - Yatagoro henchman
Kôzaburô Nakamura
Chôbee Yamazaki
Shimajirô Yamazaki
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Storyline

The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poor | samurai | barber | lying | lie | See All (26) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

August 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ballad of the Paper Balloons  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's pessimistic tone offended the censors to the extent that the director lost his military exemption permit. Drafted as a common private the very day "Humanity and Paper Balloons" was released, Yamanaka died from dysentery in Manchuria a year later, aged 28. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ikite wa mita keredo - Ozu Yasujirô den (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
rain falling
12 April 2008 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

I got this movie out of curiosity to see why some writers call Yamanaka the equal of Ozu and Kurosawa, despite his death at just 29. A pre war movie about 18th Century slum dwellers doesn't sound so interesting, but like the other reviewers here I found it a fascinating and haunting experience. I think this movie will live with me for many years.

It features a range of wonderful characters, most notably a sad, alcoholic samurai and his patient wife (the maker of the 'paper balloons' of the title), the sharp go-getter Shinza, the rabble of slum dwellers who surround them and the gangsters and others who prey on them - but who are often prey in return. The structure of the story is marvelous - its so very short, yet, there are multiple threads, all brought together beautifully - the young couple seeking to elope, the desperation of the fallen Samurai trying to regain his position, the sharp practices of Shinza, even the little jokes of a blind (or is he?) handyman. It all comes together to a haunting ending, that seems remarkably modern. It is also a wonderfully humane story, that treats the poverty stricken characters with respect and compassion.

This is a truly great film, one that can stand up with the acclaimed masterpieces of the 1950's. Such a terrible shame that Yamanaka died so young and that so few of his other movies survived. I hope what others are around will be brought out soon on DVD. Masters of Cinema should be congratulated for releasing this lovely version.


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