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RED BEARD

Japan, 1965 (MIFF 1967, Programme 6)

Director: Akira Kurosawa

At the end of the Tokugawa Period, a young man returns to Edo after several years' study at a Dutch medical school in Nagasaki. Told to make a formal call at the public clinic and pay his respects to its head, an apparently despotic doctor called Red Beard, he learns that he is to stay there an work as an intern. Since he had hoped to be attached to the court medical staff, this news comes as a great shock to him. He refuses orders and purposely breaks hospital rules, until a death convinces him that only by serving others can he find fulfilment.

Red Beard is the summation of all of Kurosawa's films. In it he continues the major theme of his work - the human condition. As many of his characters have stated "We live in a hell", and in his major films (Living, Seven Samurai, The Lower Depths, and now Red Beard), the answer to this is that a man must come to terms with himself. By the time the first half of this three-hour film is over, the young intern has realized that, where understanding is concerned, pity and charity are poor substitutes for love and involvement.

Best Actor Award, O.C.I.C., San Giorgio and City of Venice Prizes, Venice Festival.

See also...

DODES'KA-DEN

Akira Kurosawa's first film in five years centres on the inhabitants of a shanty-town society. ... The town is little more than an ugly array of metal sheets and tar paper shacks resembling the city ... More »

SEVEN SAMURAI

To a small village under the hills comes a party of brigands. They stare down, calculate what crops will be there in the Spring. and decide to return as they did last year, As they canter away, a ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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