Movie Information

In Brief: Let's get this out of the way: I love Akira Kurosawa unequivocally. Having said that, I should point out that late-period Kurosawa is distinctly inferior — at least, in many instances — to his earlier masterpieces. A perfect case in point is Dodes’ka-den (1970), Kurosawa's first color film and one of the few times the director would delve into a contemporaneous setting. I've never bought into the likely apocryphal tale that the critical derision heaped upon Dodes’ka-den led directly to Kurosawa's 1971 suicide attempt, but it's easy to see why people might jump to that conclusion. This shapeless collection of shanty-town vignettes following unlikable losers careening between tragedy and escapist fantasy is clearly the result of a depressed mind and not the cause of one — but regardless of its role in the great auteur's psychological turmoil, it's just not one of his better pictures.
Genre: Drama
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Toshiyuki Tonomura, Shinsuke Minami, Yûko Kusunoki
Rated: NR

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Dodes’ka-den on Friday, April 27, at the new Flood Gallery location in Black Mountain, 850 Blue Ridge Road, Unit A-13, Black Mountain.


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One thought on “Dodes’ka-den

  1. Andrew Spitznas

    I agree completely. This is his one late film that I would be content to never watch again, his weakest effort since Sanshiro Sugata II. I do have a soft spot for Kurosawa’s late films, though, as I feel all of them but Dodes’ka-den have plenty to celebrate. (I particularly love Rhapsody in August for its tender cross-generational tale, its portrait of resilience to trauma, and its goosebump-inducing final scene in the rainstorm.) But where it seems he was churning out an enduring masterpiece with every other film from 1946-1965, only Ran fits this description in his late phase.

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