7.5/10
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Dodes'ka-den (1970)

Dodesukaden (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 9 June 1971 (USA)
Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Yoshitaka Zushi ...
Kin Sugai ...
Toshiyuki Tonomura ...
Taro Sawagami
Shinsuke Minami ...
Ryotaro Sawagami
Yûko Kusunoki ...
Misao Sawagami
Junzaburô Ban ...
Yukichi Shima
Kiyoko Tange ...
Mrs. Shima
Michio Hino ...
Mr. Ikawa
Keiji Furuyama ...
Mr. Matsui
Tappei Shimokawa ...
Mr. Nomoto
Kunie Tanaka ...
Hatsutaro Kawaguchi
Jitsuko Yoshimura ...
Yoshie Kawaguchi
Hisashi Igawa ...
Masuo Masuda
Hideko Okiyama ...
Tatsu Masuda
Tatsuo Matsumura ...
Kyota Watanaka
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 June 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dodes'ka-den  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The crew simply called the set the town without seasons. See more »

Connections

Featured in Music for the Movies: Tôru Takemitsu (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
beautiful/tragic character study
10 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.


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