Amongst the Lost – Dodes’ka-den, by Akira Kurosawa (1970)

Amongst the Lost – Dodes’ka-den, by Akira Kurosawa (1970)

Still from Dodes’ka-den

The film depicts the trash heap of society, the aftermath of apathy. The film starts nowhere and ends in the same place, because that is where those who are discarded wake and sleep. In between are episodes of escape, and drink and talk and dream.

The invisible trolley that travels to every stop in the trash heap is inherited, fashioned, and operated by the mentally disabled man who follows the route of nowhere to nowhere. The disabled enables, and because, through this, an unnecessary good is served, he is protected, the colours of his imagination accepted and understood; his presence, in its emptiness of actuality within the emptiness of actuality, therefore recognized as real.

In the revealing and blinding light of time, whose beginning is lost and whose end is uncertain, colour actuates the eye, and the eye colours the mind. Though the trash heap is grey, the thoughts it descends from, and every action in it, are not. The dwellers disintegrate into illusions of acceptance and their children become meaningful and lastingly apparent only through death. It is a splendour of nothingness.

The immoralities of those who live day after day, day by day, in the trash heap do not differ from those who do not dwell there. They are impositions taken from the latter. They are the impositions of neglect and inconsideration. It is their brightness and their fantasy that fulfill the ashen end that is to come.

There is more disconnection than narrative. There is more narrative than disconnection. There is more that is to be seen, and known, that the film, aware it is holding back the pain of the heart, and the knowledge it holds, needs not state. The insanity that is incurable is that the leavings of the better off destroy, without concern and without shame. And its consequence is that the beauty of the earth is turned to trash; and through which only the yearnings of the imagination can navigate.

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