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No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)
"Waga seishun ni kuinashi" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  6 June 1980 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,451 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 19 critic

The daughter of a politically disgraced university professor struggles to find a place for herself in love and life, in the uncertain world of Japan leading into WWII.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Susumu Fujita ...
Ruykichi Noge
Denjirô Ôkôchi ...
Haruko Sugimura ...
Madame Noge
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Kuninori Kôdô ...
Mr. Noge
Akitake Kôno ...
Itokawa
...
Police Commissioner 'Poison Strawberry' Dokuichigo
Taizô Fukami ...
Minister of Education
Masao Shimizu ...
Professor Hakozaki
Haruo Tanaka ...
Student
Kazu Hikari ...
Detective
Hisako Hara ...
Itokawa's Mother
Shin Takemura ...
Prosecutor
Tateo Kawasaki ...
Servant
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Storyline

In 1933, in Kyoto, the academic freedom is under attack and the spoiled daughter of Professor Yagihara, Yukie Yagihara, is courted by the idealistic student Ruykichi Noge and by the tolerant Itokawa. When the academic freedom is crushed by the fascists, Professor Yagihara and the members of the Faculty of Law resigns from their positions and Noge is arrested. Five years later, Noge visits Professor Yagihara and his family under the custody of the now Prosecutor Itokawa and tells that he is going to China. Yukie decides to move alone to Tokyo and years later, she meets Itokawa in Tokyo and he tells that Noge is living in Tokyo. Yukie visits Noge and they become lovers. In 1941, Noge is arrested accused of ringleader of a spy network and Yukie is also sent to prison. When she is released, she decides to move to the peasant village where Noge's parents live and are blamed of being spies by the villagers. She changes her lifestyle and works hard with Madame Noge planting rice and earning ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

anti war

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

6 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

No Regrets for My Youth  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes of the student demonstrations, filmed outside the gate of Kyoto University, contains fairly older looking students. That was because, aside from the main cast of characters, the rest of the "students" were played by all the assistant directors in an effort to keep costs low. See more »

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Referenced in Seven Samurai: Origins and Influences (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Political Passions Flared by Kurosawa and Hara in Post-WWII Japan
17 April 2008 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

I could hardly believe the actress playing the mercurial Yukie would soon be playing the serene and self-effacing Noriko in Yasujiro Ozu's home drama classics such as "Early Summer" and "Tokyo Story". Such was Setsuko Hara's versatility and malleability that she could move easily between Ozu's saintly goddess and Akira Kurosawa's passionate, reluctant heroine in this 1946 anti-war melodrama. In his first post-WWII film and the only one he ever made focused on a female protagonist, Kurosawa (with co-writer Eijirô Hisaita) has fashioned an emotionally ripe, politically charged and time-spanning story around Yukie, the daughter of a college professor, a one-time idealist who loses his job in face of the growing fascism engulfing Japan in 1933. Beautiful and skating precariously on the surface of her life, she finds herself caught between two men, both former students of her father - Noge, the son of peasant rice farmers, who becomes a secretive anti-war activist, and Itokawa, the conservative prosecutor and a symbol of the passive conformity that allowed Japan to enter a no-win war.

Yukie is excited by Noge's political passion, and they begin an intense, inevitably short-lived affair. When Noge goes to prison, she becomes politically enlightened to Japan's oppressive state, and after he dies, she decides to take his ashes to his parents and stay with them to work the fields. She endures a great deal of hardship, both from his uncaring parents and neighbors, who harass the family of a "traitor". Against the odds, Yukie endures and triumphs and despite a brief sojourn back to Kyoto, realizes her life is far more fulfilling with the peasants. Much of the plot is rather convoluted and the storyline jumpy, as the politically motivated Kurosawa seems more interested in drawing certain emotional responses from the viewer. Clarity is only a secondary consideration here, as he busily applies much of the visual flair that he would exhibit with greater impact in his later masterworks like "Rashomon" and "Seven Samurai".

Even at this early stage in his directorial career (it's only his fifth film), there are a number of his stylistic touches evident - a series of quick freeze shots to illustrate Yukie's traumatized response behind a closed door to Noge's surprise departure; the use of a slow exposure camera that causes an unearthly (and sometimes irritating) blurring effect when people are in motion; people lying in a pastoral setting staring skywards (mimicked recently by Chinese filmmakers like Yimou Zhang); Yukie's oddly exaggerated, out-of-sync piano playing; and large crowds rushing down steps in an Eisenstein-like manner. However, the film gains real emotional heft toward the end when Yukie struggles in the rice fields with Noge's mother (played almost unrecognizably by another Ozu regular, Haruko Sugimura) under Yukie's mantra of the dead husband/son, "No regrets in my life, no regrets whatsoever". It's a moving sequence which brings the story to its resonant conclusion.

Proving why she was one of Japan's favorite post-WWII film stars, Hara is superb in showing Yukie's initial flightiness and evolving political consciousness. The other performances are reasonable but hardly as memorable - Susumu Fujita as Noge, Akitake Kono as Itokawa (whom Yukie rejects at the end as unworthy to know where Noge's grave is due likely to his pro-war stance) and Denjiro Okochi as Yukie's father. The combination of the illustrious Kurosawa and the incandescent Hara is certainly compelling enough to warrant viewing.


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