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Japan drama 1970 color 140 min.
Director: Akira Kurosawa
CLV: $69.95 - available
2 discs, catalog # CC1443L

VHS: available from Home Vision Cinema

Akira Kurosawa's first color film, Dodes'ka-den evokes theater of the absurd, with its eccentric cast assembled in a landfill. This poignant, unforgettable statement on the human condition features a surreal landscape and saturated palette. The artificial, often livid colors and the unpredictable camera gestures imbue this shantytown setting with a sense of fantasy and bewitchment.

Kurosawa gazes at his crippled society with tolerance, amusement and compassion. There are no heros here, merely a group of shy, feckless outcasts huddled together on the desolate fringes of the city. Some are drunk; some are physically handicapped. All have been cheated by life. All survive on illusion.

Here is a vision worthy of Dante, a truly "divine comedy," in which naivete is a shining virtue and evil suffers defeat in the most disarming and least violent of ways.

After finishing production on this film, Kurosawa attempeted suicide by slashing his neck and arms in twenty-one places, following the example of his elder brother who killed himself in this manner. While recuperating, his spirits were lifted by letters from schoolchildren offering to donate money for his next film.

Criterion's new transfer brings this rarely-seen classic to home theater in its original widescreen aspect ratio.

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