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Dodes'ka-Den ()

directed by
featuring Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Toshiyuki Tonomura

Dodes'ka-Den (aka Dodesukaden) was Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's first project since Red Beard (1965), and his first ever in color. Kurosawa focuses this time on Tokyo slum life. We watch as a variety of unfortunates debase themselves to survive, yet, somehow, emerge with more innate dignity than the so-called "better" people. While it seems inconceivable that Dodes'ka-Den would fail at the box office, fail it did upon its original release. The Japanese distributors hastily pared down the film's 244 minutes to 140 (unfortunately destroying the original negative in the process), but this version also came a cropper. It was the negative reaction to Dodes'ka-Den, which allegedly prompted Kurosawa to attempt suicide. Happily, he survived to reclaim his industry stature with 1976's Dersu Uzala. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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