The Weakness of the Strength of Acceptance – The Lower Depths, by Akira Kurosawa (1957)

Still from Akira Kurosawa's The Lower Depths

Still from Akira Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths

The interconnected subjects of the theme of the film are the individual’s acceptance of the power of the acceptance of illusion, with its attendant inclusion of personal and social weakness and indifference, and illusion’s close accomplice, the delusions of power, with its own illusions, but principally of its inherent permanence and rights, including the right to destroy. The third subject is detachment from reality, and its refined form, detachment that is able to change reality.

The concept the film accepts is that society is based upon and thus formed by the individuals within it, and that those who have gained the illusion of power cannot ensure its permanence without the annihilation of the whole. This film, therefore, is a work for an ensemble cast. Their individual situations, although not necessarily of their own choosing, form, in the aggregate, the social situation they participate in; and this participation is modified according to individual acceptances or assertions of the immutability of each of their existences, and of their mutability if choice is recognized and then engaged.

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