The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

The Human Condition I: No Greater Love ★★★★

Can't you see? Force has meaning only when overcoming tyranny.

I can tell that this is building up to something truly extraordinary, and I am excited to continue my journey with this series. Even just with this first film installment, The Human Condition is feeling less like watching a movie and more like a really good television show, and I mean that very fondly. (That feeling is probably also aided by this three part series technically being six parts, so it gives off the feeling of a mini-series before those were a thing.) Can we all agree that Tatsuya Nakadai is one of the greatest actors of all-time, and how lucky we are that he's still with us? I think I might be more partial to him in both Yojimbo and The Sword of Doom, but I think he's incredible here as Kaji. This is a film that's what it says with its own title, which considering how towering "the human condition" as a concept is, it sticking the landing with capturing the breadth of desire and violence is impressive. This is a film about pacifism and humanity at a time where that seems to be the furthest away from the reality you're living and seeing. How on Earth can you possibly be a conscientious objector in a time like this? That's the question any viewer is going to ask of Kaji, and I would believe that every person who asks that will then be blown away to see how the film handles it. This part alone I think would be a great double with one of my all-time favorite films, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and I am intrigued to see what the next two parts are going to equally remind me of. You are only ever as humane as the way you treat your "enemies."

8/10

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