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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...

SEVEN SAMURAI

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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 »

LIVING

After Rashoman, Akira Kurosawa adapted Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" for the screen. When this film failed to win critical approval in Japan, he made Living, a modern story which established him as the ... More »

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 »

YOJIMBO

In the middle of the 19th century, at Namome, on a highway north of Edo, crime is rife. Sanjuro, a wandering Samurai, arrives to find the village decimated by some long lasting feud. Hansuke, a petty ... More »

JUDO SAGA

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 ... More »

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