Drunken Angel DVD
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Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Produced in 1948
Main Language - JAPANESE with English subtitles
Set in a depressed post-war Japan still occupied by the Americans, this is both a character-driven film noir and an allegory of Japan's reconstruction, in which the worlds of a greedy, alcoholic doctor and a shallow young Yakuza gangster collide. The first of Kurosawa's collaborations with Toshiro Mifune, this is a dark thriller widely acknowledged to be Kurosawa's breakthrough work.
Length: 93 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Format: DVD B&W
Released: 25th July 2005
Cat No: BFIVD638
by Anon on 8th July 2005
Akira Kurosawa’s eighth feature is a densely atmospheric, supremely accomplished thriller which, characteristic of ‘The Emperor’, acknowledges stylistic influences fro... Read on
Akira Kurosawa’s eighth feature is a densely atmospheric, supremely accomplished thriller which, characteristic of ‘The Emperor’, acknowledges stylistic influences from Western cinema such as French poetic realism and Italian neorealism whilst remaining firmly grounded in traditional Japanese values and imagery.
In post-war Tokyo, young gangster Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) enlists the help of a world-weary local doctor Sanada (Takashi Shimura) in an attempt to treat worrying symptoms of tuberculosis. Whilst he is shown to feel a deep compassion for all his patients, Sanada - the ‘Drunken Angel’ of the title – sees in Matsunaga in particular a reflection of his own brash younger self. Doctor and patient engage in a furious battle of wills as Sanada attempts, with some success, to curb Matsunaga’s hard-living ways. That is, until the reappearance of powerful rival gangster Okada (Reizaburo Yamamoto).
Shot through with Kurosawa’s trademark stylistic flair (the dream sequence and climactic fight scene are simply breathtaking) and built around powerful performances from both Shimura and 28-year-old Mifune in his first film for the director, Drunken Angel is quintessential Kurosawa: a perfect example of what would later be called his ‘existential humanism’.