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The Lower Depths VHS

VHS video


4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

Product details

  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Kyôko Kagawa, Ganjirô Nakamura, Minoru Chiaki
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Maxim Gorky
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa, Sôjirô Motoki, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: June 13, 2000
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0780020812
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,112 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Directed by acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (Ikiru, Rashomon), this poignant adaptation of Maxim Gorky's play studies a group of destitute people sharing a hovel. Kurosawa creates a brilliant spectrum of characters who differ from one another in degrees of hope, resignation, and compassion: the landlady (Isuzu Yamada) in love with a thief, the thief (Toshiro Mifune, Rashomon) spurned by the landlady's sister, the gambler, the prostitute, and many others. Through their interactions, Kurosawa explores illusion and delusion, delighting in each person's ability to create an image of himself that doesn't match reality. Quite different from Jean Renoir's film of The Lower Depths, this version is more faithful to the play and is infused with humor. It has been praised especially for its remarkable ensemble acting and visual fluidity.

In faithfully adapting Maxim Gorky's classic play The Lower Depths, Akira Kurosawa incorporated themes from several of his better-known films. Transplanted from the play's Russian setting to Japan's Edo (pre-Tokyo) period, the film cleverly places its poverty-stricken characters into a vividly Japanese context while retaining their tenacious defense against life's relentless miseries. As the title implies, the comedic drama unfolds literally in a hole--a dreary tenement sunken into a refuse-strewn landscape--where Kurosawa's superb cast breathes life into the hopes, dreams, and delusions of their characters. Landlady, thief, prostitute, tinker, actor... all but the cynical gambler live in desperate self-deception, and Kurosawa finds poignant humor in the ways they hold reality at bay. Toshiro Mifune excels as the thief, but this is perhaps Kurosawa's greatest ensemble achievement; lengthy rehearsals and multiple cameras resulted in a fluid, masterful film full of fine performances, confined to only two intimate settings yet embracing universal foibles of humanity. --Jeff Shannon

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