- First film in five years off for Kurosawa (Red Beard)- his first in a long time without Mifune (I believe 1952’s Ikiru), first film in color, first film in a long time (since 1957) with the boxier 1.37 : 1 aspect ratio (no longer the wide Tohoschope here).
- After the film he’d attempt suicide in 1971, wouldn’t work again until 1975’s Dersu Uzala financed in Russia and shot in Siberia
- opens on the dwelling of the young child (for which we get the name of the film- this is the sound his pretend train makes— (have to think about this role/character in a world before Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder)—the color from these drawings pop—gorgeous—it is one of the better shots/sequences of the film
the opening —it is one of the better shots/sequences of the film
- Like Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths (1957) this is a film about the slums, a village and community of people at the very bottom. Touched on again in High and Low of course (all three films would pair very well with a study of Bong’s work, Parasite, class). Even The Hidden Fortress and the decision to tell the story from the peasants’ point of view—ingenious. So thematically this fits with Kurosawa’s body of work. This is an awful world.
- With the carefully built village—the bold splashes of primary color- I thought of Spike’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing
With the carefully built village—the bold splashes of primary color- I thought of Spike’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing
- There’s a town drunk, town slut, an adorable kid, our title character (also paralleled in Spike’s film), the wise man who tries to help everyone
- Back to the primary colors- there are two couples, one in yellow and one in red, and they switch partners—their house is their color, their water bucket, their clothes, etc – inspired scenes here
- For the father and son characters- they talk of building their dream house (on a hill) throughout the film—quick surrealism cutaways – depressing
For the father and son characters- they talk of building their dream house (on a hill) throughout the film—quick surrealism cutaways – depressing
- This isn’t a critique of Kurosawa- it is just fascinating to note when the great directors made their first experimentation with color. Ozu’s was Equinox Flower in 1958 I believe. He mastered color by 1959 with Floating Weeds or, for sure, clearly by 1961 with The End of Summer. Ozu had been dead and gone for seven years before Kurosawa even attempted it.
- Also like Floating Weeds this is an ensemble film. Grand Hotel, Nashville, Amarcod– it is plotless, no real central characters- there would be no role here for Mifune anyways.
- The graffiti mural at 111 minutes is a stunner—but not enough of these. Kurosawa is just starting to experiment with color and although it is impressive, it is not enough to put it up with his work of the 1960’s
The graffiti mural at 111 minutes is a stunner— Kurosawa’s first foray into color- beautiful
- Recommend—not quite in the top 10 of 1970