Ine Onoda, the eldest daughter of a poor family of farmers, raises a colt from birth and comes to love the horse dearly. When the horse is grown, the government orders it auctioned and sold... See full summary »
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Kameda, who has been in an asylum on Okinawa, travels to Hokkaido. There he becomes involved with two women, Taeko and Ayako. Taeko comes to love Kameda, but is loved in turn by Akama. When Akama realizes that he will never have Taeko, his thoughts turn to murder, and great tragedy ensues. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Filmed as a two-part production running 265 minutes. Shochiku (the studio) told Akira Kurosawa that the film had to be cut in half, because it was too long; he told them, "In that case, better cut it lengthwise." The film was released truncated at 166 minutes. See more »
Poignant film that unfortunately suffers from heavy cutting in the first half
It's pretty difficult to judge this film fully. The first half is erratic, and filled with jolting edits, characters that appear and disappear without any introduction. It's a damn shame. The scatological nature of this epic project, adapted from the Russian classic by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, was due to it being horrendously cut down by the studio that funded it. Originally, Akira Kurosawa had created a 266 minute cut of the - incredibly faithful to the source novel - was shortened by 100 minutes. Unfortunately, it would seem that the world may never see the original version, as even when Kurosawa hunted for the missing scenes in the vaults several decades later, he was unable to locate them.
As it is in its now 166 minute format (the longest version available), it is still an incredibly important piece of melodrama. After the devastation of the war, Kinji Kameda (Masayuki Mori) and Denkichi Akama (Toshiro Mifune), travel back to a remote island. Kameda claims that he suffers from an illness, cause by the suffering of war, and simply referred to as idiocy - when expressed on film, this idiocy seems simply to be an innocent, and fundamentally naive view of people. He simply only sees good in people, even if this is not the case. On arriving they both seem to fall for a disgraced woman, Taeko Nasu (Setsuko Hara), who was someones concubine since the age of fourteen, and is being offered for marriage at a price.
What ensues is a strange love triangle that divides not only the two male protagonists, but the community. The film is beautifully shot in black and white by Toshio Ubukata, who had worked with Kurosawa on his previous film, Scandal (1950). It is unfortunate that the films first half suffers so evidently due to extensive cutting. However, it is the relationship between Kameda and Akama that provides the climax (which is seemingly more intact) that provides the films central theme, and its most poignant elements.
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