Individual Decision – The Most Beautiful, by Akira Kurosawa (1944)

Still from Akira Kurosawa's The Most Beautiful (1944)

Still from Akira Kurosawa’s The Most Beautiful (1944)

The subject is the individual’s choice of action and behaviour in the service and in the context of the objectives of the society the individual is within. Even if the sole objective is war, and, therefore, killing. This is Kurosawa’s second film. Although superficially it can be considered a propaganda film for the Japanese war effort, the considerations of the director lie more upon the felicities understood and small beauties engendered by the participants in this service to their society. They are all women, and all volunteers.

The film turns not only on the morality of service to a worthless social objective but also on the moralities of individual choice as influenced by that objective. It is the latter that is more powerful, however sincere, however misguided. The person is the wellspring of society. This is still so. What one chooses to do, and what belief this is based upon, make the society one is, inescapably, part of.

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