NO REGRETS FOR OUR YOUTH (Waga Seishun Ni Kuinashi)
(director/writer: Akira Kurosawa; screenwriter: Eijiro Hisaita; cinematographer: Asakazu Naikai; editor: Akira Kurosawa; music: Tadashi Hattori; cast: Denjiro Okochi (Yagahara), Eiko Miyoshi (Mrs. Yagahara), Setsuko Hara (Yuki Yagahara), Susumu Fujita (Noge), Kuninori Kodo (Noge’s Father), Haruko Sugimura (Noge’s Mother), Takashi Shimura (Police Commissioner), Akitake Kôno (Itokawa); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Keiji Matsuzaki; The Criterion Collection; 1946-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)
“Kurosawa uses his considerable filmmaking skills to nail down a pic Stanley Kramer would be proud to call his own because of its liberal message.“
Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzIt’s based on the Takikawa incident of 1933, in which a prominent professor was forced out of his position by the government for his leftist views. Writer-director Akira Kurosawa (“Red Beard”/”The Bad Sleep Well”/”The Idiot”) and cowriter Eijiro Hisaita create this earnest social conscience tale that revolves around a female’s point of view. Yuki (Setsuko Hara), the pure-hearted daughter of the gentle liberty seeking Kyoto University professor Yagahara (Denjiro Okochi), goes from someone apolitical to someone who becomes involved in the fight for her country’s soul.The b/w film, made at the time of the American occupation, pits the Japanese intellectuals against the fascist militarists who colonized Manchuria, China, in the 30’s and then attacked the United States in 1941–bringing America into World War II.
After the “Manchurian Incident” in 1933, the rise of fascism is on the rise in Japan with the Sino-Japanese War. The faculty and students of Kyoto University protest, calling for ‘freedom of learning,’ but are crushed and Professor Yagahara loses his teaching position. In 1938, Noge (Susumu Fujita), one of her father’s radical students, who the well-bred Yuki has a crush on, is jailed for writing against the regime. Yuki’s other suitor is the conformist Itokawa (Akitake Kôno), whom she rejects. When Noge’s released in 1941, he resides in Tokyo. Yuki meets him there and they live together. Unfortunately he’s accused of being a traitor when he protests against the war and is executed. Yukie carries his ashes back to his rural hometown and works in the village as a farmer/cultural leader while living with her lover’s peasant parents.
Kurosawa uses his considerable filmmaking skills to nail down a pic Stanley Kramer would be proud to call his own because of its liberal message, as he shows that the peaceniks were overwhelmed by the militarists in the 1930s and 1940s and couldn’t stop their warlike activities.
REVIEWED ON 3/30/2010 GRADE: B