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.
An anthology of overlapping vignettes exploring the lives of a variety of characters who happen to live in a suburbial shantytown atop a rubbish dump: The boy Roku-chan lives in a fantasy world in which he is a tram conductor. In his fantasy world, he is both the tram and the tram driver and follows a set route and schedule through the dump, reciting the refrain "Dodeska-den", "clickety-clack", mimicking the sound of his vehicle. Ryotaro, a hairbrush maker by trade, is saddled with supporting many children whom his unfaithful wife Misao[c] has conceived in different adulterous affairs, but is wholeheartedly devoted to them. A pair of drunken day laborers (Masuda and Kawaguchi) who engage in wife-swapping, only to return to their own wives the next day as though nothing has happened. A stoic, bleak man named Hei is frequented by Ocho who appears to be his ex-wife, and he watches emotionless as she takes care of his domestic chores. Shima, the man with the tic, is always defending his ... Written by
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 »
[pondering the bare stalk of a dead tree outside Hei's hovel]
What kind of tree is this?
[lightly touches the dead tree trunk]
It's no longer a tree when it's dead.
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In 1970, after a five year absence, Kurosawa made what would be his first film in color. Dodes' Ka-Den is a film that centers around many intertwining stories that go on in a small Tokyo slum.
The title comes from the sound a mentally retarded boy makes as he imagines he is operating a train. We slowly get to know more of the people in the small community, the two drunks who trade wives because they are not happy with the ones they have. The old man who is the center of the town who helps out a burglar that tries to rob him. The very poor father and son that cannot ever afford a house, so they imagine one up of their own. By the end of the film, the stories all come full circle, some turn out happy, others sad.
Since this was Kurosawa's first color film you can see that he uses it to his advantage and it shows. Maybe too much. This movie goes in many different directions and it's hard to settle down and get into it. But don't get me wrong, Dodes' Ka-Den may not be Kurosawa's best, but coming from the greatest director of all time, it's much better than 99% of today's films.
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