Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
The story of Sanshiro Sugata, a young man who wants to learn the new art of judo. A wise teacher reveals to Sanshiro that judo is not merely a means of combat nor a demonstration of ... See full summary »
Ine Onoda, the eldest daughter of a poor family of farmers, raises a colt from birth and comes to love the horse dearly. When the horse is grown, the government orders it auctioned and sold... See full summary »
When his pistol is stolen, police detective Murakami is humiliated, especially when the gun is later implicated in a crime. Working with his superior, Chief Detective Sato, Murakami works ... See full summary »
Episodes from the lives of a group of Tokyo slum-dwellers: Rokkuchan, an intellectually disabled boy who brings meaning and routine to his life by driving an imaginary streetcar; children who support their parents by scrounging or by tedious and ill-paying endeavours; schemers who plot or dream of escaping the shackles of poverty. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The drawings shown toward the end of the film weren't by Akira Kurosawa. He usually used his own paintings, but he didn't think they'd feel right or childish enough, so he had some children draw some paintings that are the ones ultimately shown in the finished picture. See more »
Dodes'ka-den is the monotonous sound of the trolley clickety-clacking down the rails; the mindless drone of a brain damaged or retarded "trolley freak" acting out his repetitive fantasy in the Tokyo city dump where he lives with his long-suffering mother; and, a cinematic masterpiece from Kurosawa.
The film doesn't have a traditional plot, it's a snapshot of the lives of a strange ensemble of characters who live in the dump. (In much of the third world today, municipal dumps are inhabited by poor people who scavenge trash to make their living. It wasn't that long ago that the same was true in the US, by the way. In the late 1800's the NYC dump was home to a population of desperate scavengers too.) Kurosawa does his usual brilliant job of creating a full spectrum of characters, except that here most of them are damaged and dysfunctional. Kurosawa is loved for his portrayals of honor, courage, and heroism. Some find it more difficult to appreciate his unblinking examination of loss, failure, wickedness and despair. This film lays bare some of the dark corners of the human heart, and presents the full spectrum of human reality, warts and all - but with an emphasis on the warts.
It's not a dark film nonetheless. These tragic blighted lives are shown with zen clarity and humor. We see a cross-section of human psychology, both good and bad, and the genius of Kurosawa makes it clear that each of us share the feelings and foibles of these Tokyo dregs.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?