This movie is about a young stall owner called Onami and her troublesome brother. It all starts when her brother takes a small knife from a samurai who carelessly left it at their stall; ... See full summary »
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 »
This is a brilliant film. A story about a poverty stricken part of Edo (Tokyo) in the feudal era of Japan, the film concerns itself with its inhabitants, all of which are superbly written and realized. The best role went to Nakamura Kanemon as Shinzu The Barber. His character is contrary, proud and kind of fearless. The depiction of poor but somewhat brutish samurai is also greatly written. The story begins with a suicide and while is generally an unhappy film there is a bit of dark comedy in it. One of the saddest things was this was director Yamanaka Sadeo's swan song, as he died in the war shortly thereafter. Sadder still is that most of his films have been lost, but you still have this film, an utterly mesmerizing tale of the poor who somehow accept their fate and do not make it a millstone around their neck. See this, its a deserved classic.
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