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)

Photos (See all 10 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
8.4/10   2,949 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 127% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Zenzô Matsuyama (screenplay) &
Masaki Kobayashi (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Human Condition I: No Greater Love on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 December 1959 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
5 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
The Immortal Story See more (17 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

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
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

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
See more »
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.
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in 100 Years of Japanese Cinema (1995) (TV)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
The Immortal Story, 8 March 2013
Author: OttoVonB from Switzerland

Masaki Kobayashi's reflection on the Japanese experience in occupying Manchuria, fighting World War II, and dealing with defeat is a staggering piece of cinema. Clocking in at just under 10 hours, "The Human Condition" – what a title! – takes us on a journey with Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai) through a POW film, a war film and a survival film, tied together by a loose love story, weaving all these strands together with great care over its epic but impeccably paced run-time.

The first part sees Kaji, a young, well-to-do Japanese, begin work as labor supervisor in a POW camp in occupied Manchuria. What could have been an interesting honeymoon with new loving wife Michiko and the start to a promising career slowly devolves into a nightmare: Kaji tries to stay true to his human principles while getting increasingly tangled in a complex web that involves escaping prisoners, abusive guards, and a tyrannical, bullish army that is above the law.

As an indictment of the Japanese Imperial Army, it is all the more haunting for coming from one who served under it. And to Kobayashi's credit, never does this come across as a crass moral lecture. It is a stunning, gripping study in mounting desperation, anchored by a powerful turn from the ever-dependable Nakadai.

Japanese cinema of this period has its quirks, stylish acting and a tendency to melodrama that can bemuse Western viewers. While I find Kobayashi less impaired by these traits than many of his contemporaries – especially in the cold, restrained anger and sorrow of Harakiri, his masterpiece – he gets heroic support from his star of choice. Far from the histrionics and bravado of a Toshiro Mifune, Japan's other megastar of the 50s and early 60s, Tatsuya Nakadai's magnetic charisma is far more subdued and heartfelt. Though our hero is at times unbelievably decent, perhaps buoyed by his youthful optimism and love for his wife, Nakadai makes every situation and painful decision resonate.

The technical credits are the usual for this under-appreciated director's work: arresting visuals, sweeping movement, carefully crafted sets. And the supporting players leave their mark, with a stand-out in each episode. In this instance, particularly Kaji's conflicted assistant, originally mistakable for a simple brute, finds very different ways of dealing with his own crisis of conscience.

This is definitely a film you have to see. Just make sure you clear your schedule, as you don't want to spread the viewing chunks too thin if watching in fragments

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (17 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
The Chinese spoken in this film lichtetred
DVD? ottffsse_sequence
UK release howisu2003
Has received 1000 votes PriceOfAnarchy
Criterion DVD!! machinatmogsp
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity Empire of the Sun Farewell My Concubine Devils on the Doorstep
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
IMDb Drama section IMDb Japan section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.