The Human Condition (Criterion Collection) (Blu ray) [USA]

C.C. 95

The Snarky Assassin
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Sep 10, 2014
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The Land, OHIO - U.S.A.
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Prices and Links:
Criterion- $47.96
Amazon- $59.95
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Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Writers: Masaki Kobayashi, Zenzô Matsuyama, Kôichi Inagaki
Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Yûsuke Kawazu, Keiji Sada, Taketoshi Naitô
  • Japan
  • 1959
  • 575 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.39:1
  • Japanese

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This mammoth humanist drama by Masaki Kobayashi is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three installments of two parts each, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition, adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji—played by the Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai—from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet prisoner of war. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals to be an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of Japan’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.

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SPECIAL FEATURES​

  • On the Blu-ray: High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural (Parts 1–4) and 4.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio (Parts 5 and 6) soundtracks
  • On the DVD: Restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Excerpt from a 1993 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
  • Interview from 2009 with actor Tatsuya Nakadai
  • Appreciation of Kobayashi and The Human Condition from 2009 featuring Shinoda
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Philip Kemp