Yuzo and his fiancée Masako spend their Sunday afternoon together, trying to have a good time on just thirty-five yen. They manage to have many small adventures, especially because Masako's... See full summary »
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>
Akira Kurosawa in his autobiography describes this film - which was heavily edited from the director's original four-hour-and-twenty-six-minute version, by order of the studio, Shochiku - as "ruinous" to his career. Upon release, reviews of this film in the Japanese press were, according to Kurosawa, universally "scathing." ("It was as if [the reviews] were a mirror reflection of the studio's attitude toward me," he writes.) Not surprisingly, therefore, in the annual Kinema Junpo critics' poll for films released in 1951, The Idiot (1951) appears way down in the list, ranked at #18. Of all twenty five Japanese-language films that Kurosawa released from the end of the Second World War to the end of his career, this film is the only one that failed to place within the "Best Ten" list of films in the Kinema Junpo poll of its release year. In fact, it has been claimed that only the immense popularity of the film's star, Setsuko Hara, prevented the film from being a complete commercial disaster. See more »
Do you have any idea what sort of person Mr. Kameda is?
I certainly do. I daresay I know far better than you.
That's a lie! You couldn't possibly know.
Why not? Because you only ever think of yourself. Drunk on your own misery, you don't see the grief you cause in others.
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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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