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Donzoko (1957)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  1 October 1957 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,179 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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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 ...
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Asa, Tomekichi's Wife
Bokuzen Hidari ...
Kahei the Pilgrim
Atsushi Watanabe ...
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Shimazo the Police Agent


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




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 October 1957 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Lower Depths  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Version of Nachtasyl (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Ugliness and kindness of everyone as a comedy
19 July 2007 | by (Kumamoto, Japan) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed it. Everyone in the movie has very distinct character. I really enjoyed the superb performances of skilled actors who acted without going out from the dirty room and surrounding area.

After watching the movie, I read its original stage drama, "The Lower Depth" by Gorky. Most of the characters and the scripts are the same as the original drama. On Gorky's book, I could not help reading it with exact accent and gesture in the movie. Particularly, I can't imagine better way of speaking the pilgrimage Luke's scripts than Kahei acted by Hidari Bokuzen. I am sure the scripts of the movie are based on Nakamura Hakuyo's Japanese translation published from Iwanami. Even the Russian stage drama is adapted to completely different locale, you don't feel any awkwardness. This means perhaps, both the original drama and its adaptation are really great.

What only a movie could do is that you can enjoy subtle expression of countenance at close up. There are unforgettable performances by face, such as the moment of instant tension when the land owner, acted by Nakamura Ganjiro, and Sutekichi the thief, acted by Mifune Toshiro, stand together; or the moment the actor, acted by Fujiwara Kamatari, goes out of the house after gulping sake.

The scene of dancing with mouth instrumentation ('kuchi-syamisen in Japanese) is a great fun. Particularly I enjoyed the fat man Tsugaru dancing with sling; I found the actor is a professional sumo wrestler.

The most unforgettable personality is the old man Kahei. Can I become such a nice old man who can solace and encourage everyone around me? This movie can work out without Sutekichi the thief, but the old man. Therefore, the old man Kahei could be the lead character.

By the way, as a movie that describes the lower depth life with humor and music, I remember "Woman of Breakwater", by Philippine director Mario O'Hara. People in "Woman of Breakwater" came to live outside of the breakwater of Manila Bay. Everyone wants to flee from there, but can not. Just behind the breakwater is a park, and modern buildings. Describing the life of the poor out of the sight of the rich, it portrays mutual love among the people. "Donzoko" does not have such social viewpoint. Instead, it tries to show ugliness and kindness of everyone as a comedy.

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