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The Lower Depths (1957)
"Donzoko" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  1 October 1957 (Japan)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,922 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 25 critic

In a Japanese slum, various residents play out their lives, dreaming of better things or settling for their lot. Among them is a man who pines for a young woman but is stymied by her deceptive family.

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Title: The Lower Depths (1957)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Isuzu Yamada ...
Osugi the Landlady
Kyôko Kagawa ...
Okayo, Osugi's Sister
Ganjirô Nakamura ...
Rokubei, Osugi's Husband
Minoru Chiaki ...
Tonosama - the former Samurai
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
The Actor
Akemi Negishi ...
Osen the Prostitute
Nijiko Kiyokawa ...
Otaki the Candy-Seller
Kôji Mitsui ...
Yoshisaburo the Gambler
Eijirô Tôno ...
Tomekichi the Tinker
Haruo Tanaka ...
Tatsu
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Asa, Tomekichi's Wife
Bokuzen Hidari ...
Kahei the Pilgrim
Atsushi Watanabe ...
Kuna
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Shimazo the Police Agent
Edit

Storyline

Una coppia di gretti usurai gestisce uno squallido dormitorio, nei pressi di una discarica. Una folla di larve e relitti umani affolla il locale: un ex attore alcolizzato; una prostituta; un fabbro che sragiona; disoccupati ed altri ancora. In tutti c'è la ricerca della fuga dalla loro miseranda esistenza, attraverso alcool, gioco, sogni. Arriva un giorno al dormitorio un vecchio e saggio pellegrino, che porta in tutti una nota di speranza con la sua filosofia e la sua umanità. Ma il sogno dura poco : lo sconforto torna ad impadronirsi di tutti, al punto da portare l'ex attore al suicidio e gli altri a ribellarsi ai due gestori. Ispirato ad un dramma di Gorkij, il film parla della parte sconfitta dell'umanità, dei vinti, dei falliti, dei rifiutati dalla società "civile". Written by rosebud6

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 October 1957 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Lower Depths  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The gambler's second line during the final song is "Jigoku no sata mo, kane shidai" (Money buys your fate in hell), an ironic Buddhist proverb about the power of money in the world. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 62nd Annual Academy Awards (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too Polished
25 February 2005 | by (California, USA) – See all my reviews

First, I must provide the obligatory warning that this film is absolutely not a good film for introducing a viewer to the power of Kurosawa. Nevertheless, this film is one of his most well-crafted ensemble films. The performance of Bokuzen Hidari as the wandering pilgrim or priest Kahei is his pinnacle in Kurosawa's films. After his comic-relief roles in the more well known films "Ikiru" and "Seven Samurai", this role is Hidari's chance to show his own version of wisdom and authority. Similarly, Kamatari Fujiwara's powerfully sympathetic performance as the alcoholic actor is another surprising demonstration by an actor who had, hitherto, been cast in unsympathetic- even adversarial roles in previous Kurosawa films. As one comes to expect from Isuzu Yamada, her character is a feisty and commanding presence that drives the plot along.

Toshiro Mifune, however, was not the best choice for his role as the petty thief- try as he might to look like a immature and puerile common criminal , the false swagger fails to hide the actor's inherent dignity. Nevertheless, his energy and effort still make his performance believable- if incongruous. In general, however, his unsuitability for his role is the only significant snag in an otherwise fluid and natural performance on the part of all the actors. Also, the sets, as one would expect for Kurosawa, are meticulously detailed, well-lit, and authentic-seeming.

The story- based on the Maxim Gorky play, however, is not that compelling. In part, I think, it is my reaction to a socialistic morality play brought to the silver screen. Also, however, Kurosawa has tried too hard and has polished the performance and settings for too long. As well and smoothly as the actors interact, as convincing they are in their roles, their performance just does not lead anywhere dramatically. However, I saw the Jean Renoir version- a much less refined effort, in my opinion- and had much the same reaction, concluding that the story, itself, and not Kuroasawa's over-controlling treatment is what hampered my engagement.

In spite of that... That is to say... In spite of the fact that the movie's story is not very compelling for me at all, I still have high regard for the film because the acting performances are so solid and engaging. For that reason, I strongly urge devotees of Kurosawa's films to check this movie out at some point while keeping in mind that it remains less than a sum of its parts.


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I can't be the only one, can I? kkhitman1
I HATE this movie! That's what makes it great! (?) cpt761
Donzoko (?) what mean? albawhall
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