7.8/10
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13 user 18 critic

Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)

Ninjô kami fûsen (original title)
The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

Director:

Sadao Yamanaka
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Cast

Credited cast:
Chôjûrô Kawarasaki Chôjûrô Kawarasaki ... Matajuro Unno, a samurai
Kan'emon Nakamura Kan'emon Nakamura ... Shinza, the barber
Tsuruzô Nakamura Tsuruzô Nakamura
Chôemon Bandô Chôemon Bandô
Sukezô Sukedakaya Sukezô Sukedakaya ... Landlord (as Sukezo Sukedakaya)
Emitaro Ichikawa Emitaro Ichikawa
Noboru Kiritachi Noboru Kiritachi
Shizue Yamagishi Shizue Yamagishi ... Otaki, Matajuro's wife
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Toshio Arashi Toshio Arashi
Kikunosuke Ichikawa Kikunosuke Ichikawa ... Kanekichi
Rakusaburô Ichikawa Rakusaburô Ichikawa ... Yakichi
Daisuke Katô ... Isuke - Yatagoro henchman
Takako Misaki Takako Misaki ... Okoma
Kôzaburô Nakamura Kôzaburô Nakamura
Kikunojo Segawa Kikunojo Segawa ... Chushichi
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Storyline

The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

August 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Humanity and Paper Balloons See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's pessimistic tone offended the censors to the extent that the director lost his military exemption permit. Drafted as a common private the very day "Humanity and Paper Balloons" was released, Yamanaka died from dysentery in Manchuria a year later, aged 28. See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Lived, But... (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
pre war Japanese milestone
28 November 2006 | by postcefaluSee all my reviews

This is my favorite Japanese film along with Mizoguchi's "Street of shame", Naruse's "Floating clouds" and Ozu's "Late spring". It's for me also one of the best 1937 movies, maybe the best, but McCarey's "Make way for tomorrow" deserves that honour too. I've seen in very few movies such beauty, such indignation and courage to pass over a miserable existence (that unforgettable character named Shinza, the Tom Joad of the story) and i must admit that the final ten minutes are the best thing i've seen in years. It will probably seem a tiny film, sober and little in all aspects but if you can pay attention it's a moving experience and one the most important proofs of the superiority of cinema above all arts.


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