Annihilations of War – Akira Kurosawa – Drunken Angel (1948)

The two central characters are an aged, weary, alcoholic doctor, played remarkably by the great actor Takashi Shimura and a young, alcoholic, tubercular gangster, played remarkably by the great actor Toshiro Mifune. It is the first collaboration between Kurosawa and Mifune, and between Mifune and composer Fumio Hayasaka. The doctor is committed to the combat…

Absolutism and Imperialistic Justification – Akira Kurosawa – No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)

It is its historical context—intellectual absolutism at Kyoto University, the imperialistic justification of war and its patriotic subservience to it, and the crude thoughtlessness of ignorance held captive by poverty—that first catches one’s attention. Then, to this, Kurosawa counterpoints the contrast between the rural and the urban, the free and the imprisoned, the oppressed and…