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JUDO SAGA

Japan, 1943 (MIFF 1971, Akira Kurosawa Retrospective)

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa's first film was produced in 1943 - a time when a film could be rejected by the Information Bureau for showing American influence, though Judo Saga was safe in its portrayal of Japanese martial honour.

The film shows the growth of Sanshiro Sugata from a raw novice into a highly skilled practitioner of judo. Yet, at the height of his powers, his teacher dismisses him as a common street fighter. Only after a shattering experience does he begin to recognise his true self, and start to penetrate the mystique of the deeper meaning of judo.

This is the first of a number of Kurosawa's films that explore character development, using the unformed against the formed man.

See also...

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