An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
Perhaps Kobayashi's most sordid film, Black River is an exposé of the rampant corruption on and around U.S. military bases following World War II. Kobayashi spirals out from the story of a ... See full summary »
From the Criterion Collection: "Among the first Japanese films to deal directly with the scars of World War II, this drama about a group of rank-and-file Japanese soldiers jailed for crimes... See full summary »
Kobayashi's pitiless take on Japan's professional baseball industry is unlike any other sports film ever made. An excoriation of the inhumanity bred by a mercenary, bribery-fueled business,... See full summary »
Part three of a trilogy. After the Japanese defeat to the Russians in the last episode, Kaji, the Japanese soldier and humanist protagonist, leads the last remaining men through Manchuria . Intent on returning to his dear wife and his old life, Kaji faces great odds in a variety of different harrowing circumstances as he and his fellow men sneak behind enemy lines. Ultimately, he finds himself in the exact opposite position he held in the first episode: then a labor manager, Kaji is now a prisoner of war, forced to work for the Russians, whom do not seem to hold to the Communist ideals in which Kaji himself had put his faith. Written by
The Japanese troops are defeated by the Soviets and Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai) heads with three survivors to South Manchurian expecting to meet his wife. Along their crossing through the enemy line in the Manchurian land, other Japanese survivors join Kaji's group, but they need to fight against the Chinese militias and the Soviets.
When they reach a Japanese village with women and one old man, a militia arrives in the place and Kaji and his men surrender to the Soviet to spare the women. The POWs are sent to a labor work camp and Kaji sees no difference between the treatment of the Japanese fascists and the Soviet communists, in which principles Kaji believed. He decides to escape from the camp to meet his beloved Michiko again.
"The Human Condition Parts V & VI" is the last sequel of the heartbreaking anti-war masterpiece by Masaki Kobayashi. The story is impressively realistic and magnificently shot with top-notch camera work, giving the sensation of a documentary. I have seen many powerful movies about war, such as "Der Untergang", "Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo", "La Battaglia di Algeri", "Paths of Glory" and "Apocalypse Now" among others. But "The Human Condition" is certainly the most scathing antiwar movie that I have seen and I did not feel the 574 minutes running time in a black-and-white movie spoken in Japanese, Mandarin and Russian with English subtitles.
It is impressive to see the treatment spent by the fascist Japanese soldiers for the rookies and how Kaji grows-up and learns how his idealistic concept of communism is shattered when he becomes a POW and swaps his initial position of supervisor to the one of prisoner. The hopeless conclusion fits perfectly to this masterpiece and shows that in times of war, people are far from the condition for being human to survive. My vote is ten.
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