The Human Condition

Want a nine-hour dose of the truth of existence so harrowing that it will make you feel grateful no matter how humble your situation? Masaki Kobayshi's epic of the real cost of war boggles the mind with its creeping revelations of cosmic bleakness. Yet all the way through you know you're experiencing a truth far beyond slogans and sentiments. The Human Condition Region B Blu-ray Arrow Academy (UK) 1959-61 / B&W / 2:35 anamorphic widescreen / 574 min. / Ningen no jôken / Street Date September 19, 2016 / Available from Amazon UK £ 39.99 Starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima, Keiji Sada, So Yamamura, Kunie Tanaka, Kei Sato, Chishu Ryu, Taketoshi Naito. Cinematography Yoshio Miyajima Art Direction Kazue Hirataka <Film Editor Keiichi Uraoka Original Music Chuji Kinoshita Written by Zenzo Matsuyama, Masaki Kobayashi from the novel by Jumpei Gomikawa Produced by Shigeru Wakatsuki Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The first Blu-ray of perhaps
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Chikage Awashima, 1924 - 2012

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Chikage Awashima, 1924 - 2012
Chikage Awashima and Kazuo Hasegawa in Zangiku Monogatari (1956)

"Chikage Awashima, an actress known internationally for her work with Yasujiro Ozu and other greats of Japanese cinema's 1950s golden age, died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday in Tokyo," reports Mark Schilling for Variety. She was 87. In 1950, Awashima left the Takarazaka Revue Company for the Shochiku studio, where she'd appear in "a wide range of roles, though in the West she is best remembered as the vivacious, teasing friend of lead Setsuko Hara in such films as Early Summer (1951) and Early Spring (1956) or Michiko Kogure in The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952), all by Ozu. She later transferred to the Toho studio, where she starred as the level-headed geisha wife of a merchant prince's dilatory son in Shiro Toyoda's Meioto Zenzai (1955); she reprised the role in the 1963 follow-up…. Her last film role was in Masahiro Kobayashi's 2010 drama Haru's Journey."

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