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Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)
"Ninjô kami fûsen" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  August 1982 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 973 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 15 critic

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chôjûrô Kawarasaki ...
Matajuro Unno, a samurai
Kan'emon Nakamura ...
Shinza, the barber
Tsuruzo Nakamura
Chôemon Bandô
Sukezo Sukedakaya ...
Landlord
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

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

August 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ballad of the Paper Balloons  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in 100 Years of Japanese Cinema (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

For Counsel, Reinvigoration, Perspective
25 January 2013 | by (Jyväskylä, Finland) – See all my reviews

In April the Masters of Cinema will release all three surviving Yamanakas on DVD. This is the last one he made but the first one available on DVD individually. I have seen "Tange Sazen" (1935), which is just as accomplished and perfect as this, but I haven't seen "Kôchiyama Sôshun" (1936).

The two that I have seen are a testament of clear vision, clarity of expression, and mastery of detail. His ability to form character is uncanny, as well as his sense of space: in just a few minutes we are with a handful of brushstrokes placed not only in a certain place, the wonderfully enclosed, near-claustrophobic slum and its iridescent inhabitants: some seemingly crooked, some greedy, some haunted; all of them flawed in their own selves. They converse with each other, themselves, their surroundings and events befalling them as real characters, not mere characterizations.

As fun as the film is, there's still an immensely tragic undersong of failure that penetrates the apparent lightness. How Yamanaka is able to weave all this together in mere 90 minutes is pleasantly surprising, and we can be thankful to have three instead of zilch.

There are a few films to which I return time and again for counsel, reinvigoration, perspective. Either when I've been away from cinema literally (not seeing many films) or figuratively (seeing only forgettable tripe). This is one of those films to which I'll return, gladly.


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