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The Lower Depths (1957)

Donzoko (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 1 October 1957 (Japan)
In a Japanese slum, various residents play out their lives, dreaming of better things or settling for their lot. Among them is a man who pines for a young woman but is stymied by her deceptive family.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ganjirô Nakamura ...
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Nijiko Kiyokawa ...
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Haruo Tanaka ...
Eiko Miyoshi ...
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Atsushi Watanabe ...
Kichijirô Ueda ...
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Storyline

In medieval Japan, aging Rokubei, his younger wife of four years Osugi and her uncle run a tenement complex at the bottom of a cliff, the complex which from the naked eye at the top of the cliff looks like nothing more than a rubbish heap. The tenants are a group of down-and-outers with some who operate on the far side of the law. Nonetheless, the tenants are close knit community in wallowing in their collective misery, those who care who know their lives will never get better as long as they stay there. The landlords have no compassion for the tenants, they mockingly only stating that the tenants will be given a favorable standing in a future life for any good deeds done around the tenement. The recent arrival of Kahei, a mysterious elderly man, affectionately referred to as Grandpa, who spins tales of the unknown, provides at least hope that there is a better life out there somewhere. Sutekichi, a thief who arguably is the leader among the tenants, and Osugi are carrying on an ... Written by Huggo

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Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 October 1957 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Lower Depths  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish censorship certificate # 87030 delivered on 6-2-1979. See more »

Quotes

Kahei the Pilgrim: Say, my lord, why do you provoke her that way? It's her only pleasure, crying her eyes out that way.
Tonosama - the former Samurai: [lazily] I'm sick and tired of her tales.
[He scoffs]
Tonosama - the former Samurai: Makes me sick.
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Connections

Version of Na dne (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Worth every bit of patience
22 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

The Criterion Collection offers two different film versions of "The Lower Depths": one made in 1936 by Jean Renoir and another one made in 1957 by Kurosawa. The two directors never worked together on either film. In fact, they only met once in their lives, many years later. Both films are based on Russian writer Maxim Gorky's 1902 play, which describes life in a miserable slum where most characters have lost all sense of hope. Renoir deals with this serious subject matter in a much more humorous and amusing way than Kurosawa, whose film is slower, decidedly somber and a lot more difficult to digest. While Renoir's work takes the viewer in and out of the slums, Kurosawa doesn't allow one to see beyond the wretchedness of the underworld. Both films are great, but it was probably Kurosawa's which left a more durable and deeper impression on me.


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