IMDb > The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959/I)

The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959/I) More at IMDbPro »Ningen no jôken (original title)

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Zenzô Matsuyama (screenplay) &
Masaki Kobayashi (screenplay) ...
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Contact:
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Release Date:
14 December 1959 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
In the World War II, the pacifist and humanist Japanese Kaji accepts to travel with his wife Michiko... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
5 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
The struggle for humanity in an inhuman environment See more (16 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
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Directed by
Masaki Kobayashi 
 
Writing credits
Zenzô Matsuyama (screenplay) &
Masaki Kobayashi (screenplay)

Jumpei Gomikawa (novel) (as Junpei Gomikawa)

Produced by
Shigeru Wakatsuki .... producer
 
Original Music by
Chûji Kinoshita 
 
Cinematography by
Yoshio Miyajima 
 
Film Editing by
Keiichi Uraoka 
 
Art Direction by
Kazue Hirataka 
 
Production Management
Shigeru Wakatsuki .... production manager
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ningen no jôken" - Japan (original title)
"Human Condition I: No Greater Love" - USA (DVD title)
"The Human Condition I" - USA
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Runtime:
208 min | West Germany:157 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: At one point a Japanese guard begins to whip Kao, yet the motions he makes are just a flailing of his arms, visibly missing the actor. Kao retaliates by throwing a rock at the guard, but the rock never strikes the guard. However, the actor playing the guard overreacts as if he has been struck.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Michiko:This isn't like you.
Kaji:Why?
Michiko:You're running away. Don't you want me?
Kaji:Of course I do.
Michiko:And I want you, too. Yet we can't marry-...
Kaji:How many times must I explain?
Michiko:Because you might be called up? I wouldn't care if it was the day after. Of course I'd cry. I'd cry bitterly. But happiness only lies in marrying the one you love.
Kaji:Alright. I'll take you back to my dormitory. You'll stay with me tonight. Alright?
Michiko:Yes, I'll go.
[...]
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Movie Connections:
Referenced in 100 Years of Japanese Cinema (1995) (TV)See more »

FAQ

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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
The struggle for humanity in an inhuman environment, 14 April 2003
Author: (FADrury@aol.com) from Bow, NH

An interesting film that portrays the struggles of an idealistic young Japanese man who is challenged to employ his idealism in the service of the Japanese war effort in WW II. A key aspect of this struggle is the protagonist's struggle within himself. Kaji, the young man, seeks to humanize the brutal conditions at a mining operation in Manchuria. Further complicating matters is the profound sense of national prejudice that shapes the relationships between the various characters. To the workers & Chinese prisoners, regardless of his professed ideals, Kaji is Japanese and therefore an oppressor. Although Kaji tries to win their trust, his own frustration enables him to strike a young Chinese helper, reinforcing the image of the brutal Japanese. This weakness is a key underlying theme. Even late in the film, when he takes a very brave stand against some executions, his effort is a bit late and his stand is successful only when the Chinese prisoners take up the protest. He struggles because her fears he cannot live up to the ideals he expresses.

Kaji is also confronted with the another irony. Although he opposes the war, he has chosen a route of avoidance rather than resistance. This is emphasized early in the film during an evening with a friend who is about to be inducted. His friend comments that, although they opposed the war, neither of them was brave enough to face the penalty for resistance of life imprisonment. Shortly thereafter, he takes the mine job to get a military exemption. Yet, if he is successful, the production improvements in the mine only fuel the Japanese war machine.

A valuable film because it explores areas of the pacific war that are not well know in the west. Also an interesting observation in the danger of half-measures when taking a moral stance. Kaji is ultimately confronted with the fact that you cannot avoid the war, only oppose it or aid it. I look forward to viewing the next film.

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