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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 2,827 users  
Reviews: 27 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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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
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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

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 October 1957 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Lower Depths  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Akira Kurosawa:  [weather]  In Kurosawa's films, heavy wind is usually used to convey the atmosphere of emotional chaos and disorder, which is why the wind is heard all throughout the film. After the plot's climax, there's a long rainy scene with a somber mood. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very underrated Kurosawa masterpiece
18 December 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

LOWER DEPTHS perhaps isn't the place to start if you're completely unfamiliar with Kurosawa - but it still ranks as one of his great films, and definitely one of his most underrated.

Based on a Maxim Gorky play (an earlier Jean Renoir film draws upon the same source material), LOWER DEPTHS seems a bit stagey at first, but Kurosawa manages to enliven it considerably - the performances are all top-notch, and the combination of skillful editing (straight cuts only here, but the usual Kurosawa multi-camera shooting method) and inventive set design (with diagonals and angles trapping characters, heighetning the intensity of the dialogue and acting) making this an unforgettable film to watch - easily as accomplished as the better known THRONE OF BLOOD from a little earlier. One will definitely note how tightly constructed - in all ways - this film is.

This film does (along with IKIRU, RED BEARD and HIGH & LOW) illuminate some of Kurosawa's underlying philosophies, specifically a sense of social realism in cinema that can cast a critical gaze upon injustice, and in this film a sense of anger and frustration is articulated with an unusual degree of eloquence, testament to both Kurosawa's technical virtuosity, and his greater awareness of the world.

But for all of the cruelty on display here, there's an equal amount of humor, typically irreverent and loaded with sly social commentary, but also spontaneous: the two impromptu musical episodes, which blend Japanese theatrical conventions with a Chaplin-like sense of visual choreography to very striking effect.

Not as well known as SEVEN SAMURAI, THRONE OF BLOOD or YOJIMBO, but just as accomplished - filled with delight and insight.


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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
Why the very strange English subtitles? melinda2001
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