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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...

THE QUIET DUEL

A young doctor contracts syphilis while operating on a soldier during the war. ... On returning to Tokyo, he enters private practice in the family clinic, but has to face the problems of his love for ... More »

THE BAD SLEEP WELL

The daughter of the president of a government housing corporation marries her father's secretary. At the wedding ceremony, corruption is hinted at in the corporation; there is a police inquiry, and ... More »

THE IDIOT

Dostoevsky is Kurosawa's favourite author, and in Prince Myushikin, he admires the character's compassion and near godlike quality. ... In The Idiot, Prince Myushikin becomes a Japanese returning ... More »

SANJURO

A group of young aspiring samurai, all highly serious and idealistic, meet Sanjuro, an older samurai. ... His appearance shocks them. He is dirty, unkempt and sloppy, and his manners at times the ... More »

NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH

The theme of the film is based on the famous Takikawa Incident of 1933, which forced the resignation of Professor Yukitoki Takikawa from the faculty of Kyoto University for his supposed "communistic ... More »

HIGH AND LOW

Gondo, the production head of a shoe factory, mortgages his house and belongings to gain control of the company. Before he proceeds, a kidnapper rings and asks for a large amount of money for the ... More »

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