The Lower Depths: Two Films by Kurosawa and Renoir

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Overview

Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa transferred the setting of Maxim Gorky's play The Lower Depths from Imperial Russia to his own country's Edo Period--which, like Gorky's 19th-century setting, was an era of great cultural advances, offset by the miseries of those who weren't in the aristocracy. Kurosawa's film concentrates on Toshiro Mifune, playing a crooked gambler who falls in love with the sister (Kyoko Kagawa) of his cruel landlady (Isuzu Yamada). Herself carrying a torch for Mifune, the landlady exacts a ...
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DVD (Black & White / Mono)
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Overview

Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa transferred the setting of Maxim Gorky's play The Lower Depths from Imperial Russia to his own country's Edo Period--which, like Gorky's 19th-century setting, was an era of great cultural advances, offset by the miseries of those who weren't in the aristocracy. Kurosawa's film concentrates on Toshiro Mifune, playing a crooked gambler who falls in love with the sister (Kyoko Kagawa) of his cruel landlady (Isuzu Yamada). Herself carrying a torch for Mifune, the landlady exacts a roundabout revenge by killing her own husband and pinning the blame on the gambler. As the landlady descends into madness, those whom she has treated wretchedly laugh at her plight. Originally titled Donzoko, The Lower Depths was renamed Les Bas-Fonds for its French release--the same title bestowed upon Jean Renoir's 1937 adaptation of the Gorky play.
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Special Features

The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds): New digital transfer, with restored image and sound; The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds): Introduction to the film by Jean Renoir; The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds): New and improved English subtitle translation; The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds): Optimal image quality - RSDL dual-layer edition; The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds): A new essay by film scholar Alexander Sesonske, author of Jean Renoir: The French Films 1924-1939; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Donald Richie, author of A Hundred Years of Japanese Film; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): A 33-minute documentary on The Lower Depths from the series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, including interviews with Kurosawa, actress Kyoko Kagawa, art director Yoshiro Muraki, and others; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): Cast biographies by Stephen Prince, author of The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): New and improved English subtitle translation by world-renowned translator of Japanese films Linda Hoaglund; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition; The Lower Depths (Donzoko): A new essay by authors Keiko McDonald (From Book to Screen: Modern Japanese Literature in Films) and Thomas Rimer (A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature)
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/22/2004
  • UPC: 037429181324
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Mono
  • Sound: monaural
  • Language: Japanese, Français
  • Time: 3:34:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 1,210

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Toshiro Mifune Sutekichi, the thief
Jean Gabin Wasska Pepel
Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director
Jean Renoir Director
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds) (1936) - Jean Renoir
1. Credits [2:26]
2. Troubles With Money [1:04]
3. A Secret Affair [3:32]
4. A Noisy Arrival [2:43]
5. Confrontation [3:48]
6. The Baron's Last Efforts [6:50]
7. The Baron & Pépel Meet [7:08]
8. Repossession [3:28]
9. Pépel's Release [5:53]
10. Kostylyov & the Lodgers [6:39]
11. No Suffering Here [5:46]
12. "Pleasure Isn't Enough" [5:53]
13. Doomed Love [5:01]
14. An Offer for the Inspector [6:00]
15. A Nice Place to Doze [3:46]
16. "I'd Move Mountains!" [8:50]
17. Help From Friends [5:31]
18. Harmony [5:49]
19. A New Beginning [2:23]
Side #2 -- The Lower Depths (Donzoko) (1957) - Akira Kurosawa
1. Truth & Lies [5:47]
2. Cleaning Day/The Tinker's Wife [8:02]
3. The Landlord Looks for His Lady [4:27]
4. Sutekichi & Okayo [6:27]
5. The Samurai [4:50]
6. Osugi Looks for Sutekichi [2:29]
7. Sibling Rivalry [6:02]
8. Gambling/Advice for the Actor [9:50]
9. Looking for Paradise [7:42]
10. Osugi Proposes a Bargain [4:03]
11. Trouble With Women [4:57]
12. Better Off Dead [3:37]
13. Life's Suffering [5:34]
14. Protestations of Love [6:40]
15. A Warning [7:15]
16. The Gambler's Story [2:16]
17. Okayo in Trouble [4:54]
18. Remembering the Pilgrim [7:28]
19. Solace in Drink [7:14]
20. Food & Drink for All [3:41]
21. Merrymaking... Interrupted [7:48]
1. The Theme of Illusion/"A Wretched Comedy" [5:47]
2. Theatrical Techniques/Adaptations [8:02]
3. "No Identification"/The Gambler's Role [4:27]
4. Performers & Performances/The Pilgrim's Role [6:27]
5. Cruelty [4:50]
6. Music as an Explication of Character [2:29]
7. Compositional Comments/Buddhism [6:02]
8. Editing & Writing [9:50]
9. Casting/Composition & Lighting [7:42]
10. Camera Movement/The Yakuza [4:03]
11. Completing His Studio Obligations/Character [4:57]
12. The Russian Influence on Kurosawa/Contrasts [3:37]
13. Reprising the Film's Main Theme/A Subtle Camera [5:34]
14. Visual Control [6:40]
15. Not a Crowd Pleaser [7:15]
16. Black & White vs. Color [2:16]
17. The Loss of Mifune [4:54]
18. Act Structure/Setting the Tone [7:28]
19. A Janus-Faced Picture [7:14]
20. A Different Kind of Kurosawa Film [3:41]
21. The Bakabayashi/Seeing Things Straight [7:48]
1. Setting [8:07]
2. Actors & Characterization [16:16]
3. Filming the Climax [4:46]
4. The Final Song [1:43]
5. Looking for Inspiration [2:02]
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Menu

Side #1 -- The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds) (1936) - Jean Renoir
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Color Bars
   Renoir Introduction
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
Side #2 -- The Lower Depths (Donzoko) (1957) - Akira Kurosawa
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Color Bars
   Commentary
      Commentary: Off
      Commentary: On
      Index
   Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
      Play
      Index
   Cast Biographies
      Index
         Toshiro Mifune
         Isuzu Yamada
         Kyoko Kagawa
         Ganjiro Nakamura
         Minoru Chiaki
         Kamatari Fujiwara
         Akemi Negishi
         Koji Mitsui
         Eijiro Tono
         Eiko Miyoshi
         Bokuzen Hidari
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
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