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6 - 28 October 2018: Masaki Kobayashi: The Human Condition


Masaki Kobayashi’s mammoth humanist drama is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three parts, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition, adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji (handsome Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai) from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet POW. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of its nation’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.

The Human Condition I: No Greater Love, Masaki Kobayashi, 1959, 208 min, B/W, Digital
The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity, Masaki Kobayashi, 1959, 181 min, B/W, Digital
The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer, Masaki Kobayashi, 1961, 190 min, B/W, Digital