The Human Condition is a Japanese epic film trilogy made between 1959 and 1961. The trilogy follows the life of Kaji, a Japanese pacifist and socialist, as he tries to survive in the fascist and oppressive world of WWII-era Japan. No Greater Love (1959) opens with Kaji marrying his sweetheart Michiko despite his misgivings about the future.
|Original Title||:||人間の條件 第１部純愛篇／第２部激怒篇|
|Release Date||:||January 15, 1959|
|Genres||:||War, Drama, History|
|Production Company||:||Shôchiku Eiga, Ninjin Club|
|Writers||:||Jumpei Gomikawa, Masaki Kobayashi, Zenzô Matsuyama|
|Casts||:||Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima, Ineko Arima, Sô Yamamura, Akira Ishihama, Kôji Nanbara, Seiji Miyaguchi, Tôru Abe, Masao Mishima, Eitarô Ozawa, Kôji Mitsui, Akitake Kôno, Nobuo Nakamura, Kyû Sazanka, Eijirô Tôno, Shinsuke Ashida, Keiji Sada, Yasushi Nagata, Yoshio Kosugi, Toshiko Kobayashi, Taiji Tonoyama, Akira Tani, Junji Masuda, Torahiko Hamada, Teruko Kishi, Takamaru Sasaki, Akio Isono, Jun Ôtomo, Junkichi Orimoto, Zenichi Inagawa, Shinichirô Minami, Hôsei Komatsu, Tokuko Sugiyama, Sue Mitobe, Nobuo Takagi, Masami Maehata, Keiji Tsuchida, Isao Suenaga, Jun Tanizaki, Hisashi Taki, Haruko Chichibu, Tsuneko Sasaki, Kanji Ôsugi, Ryuji Kita|
|Plot Keywords||:||japan, japanese, fascism, world war ii, conscientious objector, escape from prison, snow, soldier, chinese, shallow grave, mandarin, ore mine|
Kobayashi's "The Human Condition" is one of a handful of great anti-war movies. While Japanese film has confronted its own crimes of war more than other cinema, I am only familiar with one other Japanese movie which deals directly with the war & the plight of conscientious objectors: Kurosawa's "No Regrets for Our Youth". Many films deal with the futility of war: "Seven Samurai" & "Yojimbo" come immediately to mind. But "Human Condition" takes on the enormity of war, & the means by which everyone becomes complicit in its total corruption. The hero, though a Conscientious Objector, becomes a colonial occupier, an exploiter of slave labor, an employer of a madam who runs a camp of women & girls impressed into prostitution, & generally runs the gamut of crimes against humanity while trying to maintain his virtue & love's beauty.
Parts II & III also explore the brutality of the army toward its own soldiers, & the complete desecration of the ideals of the Russian Revolution & the cruelty of ordinary Chinese villagers.
"The Human Condition" should be ranked with "Grand Illusion", though what could be as lyrical as the Renoir film? If only this were require viewing in all military academies. If only it were required viewing for all lawmakers & the executive. Is that asking too much?