The Letterboxd Top 250 movies, based on the average weighted rating of all Letterboxd users. I chose to remove all…
The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer
The Japanese forces having been shattered, Kaji and some comrades embark on an epic journey on foot southward to where Kaji hopes to rejoin Michiko. After surviving many perils he is captured by the Red Army and subjected to treatment that echoes that meted out to the Chinese.
All things must end...
And so it goes without saying that we should not expect to come through this epic tale without the weight of existence bearing down upon us. Through Kaji we celebrate the stoic and prevailing strength of ideals, the resonance of a resilient conscience and voice for truth and compassion. Described by a Japanese villager as a 'Paragon of virtue', Kaji's quest to reunite with his love Michiko is an all conquering force that echoes right past the films final frame.
This final chapter sees Kaji leading his remaining followers, and other Japanese soldiers he meets along the way through dense forest, fighting for survival against Russian troops and Chinese militia and avoiding enemy capture, ultimately leading…
My 900th film! (yaaay...)
Just to have it out of the way, this will function as a review for the entire trilogy.
In these three films, we follow Kaji, played wonderfully by Tatsuya Nakadai, a pacifist and socialist, living in an oppressive WWII-era Japan. In the beginning of the first film, he's just an ordinary man. And in the very last film, he has experience a lot of trouble and suffering, but is at the core, still the same man, or he at least he wants to be the same man, for his wife Michiko. In every chapter we see how he, with his humanistic ideals, has to deal with, fight, and adapt to the ideals of the totalitarian Japanese…
If No Greater Love was The Human Condition's social drama, and Road to Eternity its war piece, A Soldier's Prayer appropriately ends the trilogy with a survival story. Appropriate in that the previous two films have been gradually stripping away the comforts of society in Kaji until all that is left is his ideals, and a will to live. To say that the films have been getting darker and darker is an understatement. Here, the trials faced all but guarantee the final result, but still come as a shock.
Volume 5 details Kaji, having lost his squad during battle and rejected the notion of enlistment, journeys through the jungles of Manchuria with the sole goal of getting back to Michiko.…
150th film this year. Here's to another 150 before December 31st. An unexpected journey is the best way to describe my experience with The Human Condition trilogy and a very depressing one at that. I thought I would never get around to watching these set of films, but I finally did and I'm incredibly glad about it. A set of films that are no doubt incredibly dark, realistic, bleak, and very heartbreaking to watch. A difficult watch due to the running times, i'm not going to lie, but it's worth every single second.
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love was about emotion, specifically empathy and sympathy, and how it can change one's perspective on war, cruel acts, and life…
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love
The Human Condition II: The Road to Eternity
A Soldier's Prayer is the most bleak of the three entries. Unable to rejoin his fractured unit, Kaji and a band of soldiers roam the vast expanses of Manchuria in search of the, quickly dwindling, Japanese Army. Fighting starvation, exhaustion, and roving bands of Russian troops/ Chinese militias, Kaji displays a resolve to return home to Michiko, and to protect his young, humanist, protégé, Terdada (Yûsuke Kawazu).
The balance of this epic is crushing. In the final segment, A Soldier's Prayer, I was beginning to feel the sheer exhaustion of almost completing 9½ hours in under two days. Befittingly of all, it serves as a lengthy walk journey. This entry makes you physically feel the hardships and how unforgivably arduous it is to get home. It's particularly good at achieving this bleak grandeur, this yearn for your loved one, and to create a dream-like narrative (which is the first of the three) that isn't linear. A lengthy chunk is centered in a beautiful forest which becomes an ironic backdrop for when the starving refugees begin to lose all hope. There are also flashbacks of the beheadings in…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The third & last chapter of Masaki Kobayashi's equally epic adaptation of Junpei Gomikawa's autobiographically inspired 6-volume novel about one man's idealistic & physical struggle to survive during and as part of Japan's WWII involvement in occupied Manchuria. It's the consequent, ultimately final and – depending on your Weltanschauung – stubbornly or triumphantly stoic conclusion of a saga I found to be an emotionally & intellectually profound & challenging experience. Besides, it's cinematically a very appealing one. A lasting work of a master of his craft.
Jarrett Duncan Memorial Film Challenge
17/30 The movie you’ve been most scared or intimidated to watch
Hard to put a movie like this into simple words.
I can only be reductive.
The film is at times deeply beautiful and truthful. Other times it felt like a fragmented mess. Any problems I had were amplified as the film progressed. The beginning is so pungent and earnest. The middle is so sour. In the end I feel like I've been chewing on sand, readying my mouth for a final kick in the teeth.
It's a good film. It's harsh.
I would it trade it for a complete cut of Greed in a heartbeat.
truthful, and real. an accurate glimpse of a failing system, of the mental and physical toll that humanistic ideals can take on an individual within one of these systems. every human should watch all nine hours of this film. until then, its a buried masterpiece, something the layman will continue to ignore. ill take long and brilliant over brief and superficial any day.
A powerful and mesmerizing film from Masaki Kobayashi that concludes the trilogy with such devastation and understanding about the world of humanity with Tatsuya Nakadai giving a performance for the ages as the entire trilogy itself is an astounding achievement in cinema.
This is to be my 2000th logged film in the Letterboxd database. There cannot be a more fulfilling entry to mark this milestone than the conclusion to what has proven itself to be one of the finest achievements cinema has to offer. Finally coming to the end of a 9.5 hour runtime, what must be digested is, as the title suggests, the entirety of what defines the human condition. From kindness, to love, to hope, to dreams, to glory, to hate, to violence, to strength and weakness - It is a story of a man who's dream is a simple one: to live peacefully with others. Is that not the ultimate goal? This is why Kaji's tale resonates so deeply…
Tromso film club's summer contest #4: A film that lasts over three hours (3h 10m)
The final part in the epic nine and a half hour-long trilogy. Ningen no jôken is essentially a continuous film, which in Japan was often shown as one continuous film on Saturday nights before taking the bus home the next morning.
Kaji is a socialist and a pacifist, who in the first film works to introduce humanistic initiatives as one of the leaders in a factory, and in the second film has been enrolled in the war. In film three the war is over, and Kaji and his soldiers are aimlessly wandering in Manchuria after the Soviet victory. His idealistic view of people is constantly…
Devastating. The last 10 to 15 minutes of this trilogy might be some of the most crushing moments in film history. This series of films breaks and wears you down like few other films can and leaves you with just raw emotion by the end of it. And, while some of the material in this one borders on manipulative territory on paper, it never really feels like that while watching it. It spends the previous 6 hours earning those moments through really solid dialogue, characterization, and pacing. As far as I'm concerned, it continues earning it through the last three hours of the series.
This series of films really do feel like a journey. It feels as if you've been…
Asian Film Marathon 4#
TRILOGY SHORT REVIEW: It is hard to sum-up in a short review the magnitude of this film (and the trilogy as a whole). Encompassing so many themes, it explores war, human tragedy, love, survival, morality and the dangers of power. The cinematography is well-crafted, the acting is powerful and even the music score is grandiose. It is a true achievement in cinema, and an epic journey that is both emotionally resonating and harrowing. Few films demonstrate such brilliant structure and tell a story as large as this one does, which makes it unforgettable. It is such a complex film I cannot do it justice in a short review, which is why I decided to make a one-hour video discussion of it with a friend.
Check out my one-hour discussion of the film at Youtube here:
The Human Condition Discussion
It's hard to imagine another war film ever topping this one.
''A collection of films that paint with light, colors, and camera movement. No order. Some of these films may…
This is a list of films that Donald Richie included in the back of his book, A Hundred Years of…