Waga Seishun ni Kuinashi (No Regrets for Our Youth) Reviews

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March 3, 2014
The only way this film can work is for Noge to be a sympathetic character. And he simply wasn't, in any way.
Ultimately, too leftist, & naively idealistic for me. As bad as fascism is, self-righteous protesting student university worship leads to just as many ills. If it wasn't for Hara, it wouldn't be nearly as watchable.
At one point in the movie, I'm like, "stop being boring!" Yeah, I just didn't really find her husband as heroic as I was supposed to.
I find the "no regrets" phrase to be meaningless. Really? No regrets for anything? You've never treated someone poorly? You don't regret that? That's rather cold & unfeeling.
The worst part is that I can't tell the characters apart. They're all Asian.
½ March 30, 2015
Kurosawa's first postwar film is a solid film, but really not yet the work of a master film maker. It's a melodramatic story about a rather spoiled woman who's drawn into politics when she marries a leftist, and ultimately is forced to become an adult in order to survive.
February 8, 2015
A film that could never have been done during the war for obvious reasons became the first film Kurosawa did after the war. Yukie is a pampered rich girl who spends her time playing the piano and relishes being pursued by two suitors, both of whom are college men. Itokawa is gentle and affectionate but too much so. There is a scene in which Yukie asks him to get on his knees and beg her forgiveness even though he hasn't done anything, and to her horror, he does exactly that. He is the safe suitor, ultimately becoming a successful prosecutor. Noge is the brave and romantic hero who is adamantly against the rise of Fascism and will thus pay the predictable price for his passions. Yukie does her utmost to forget and avoid Noge but is drawn to his magnetism so strongly she eventually ends up marrying him. The scenes of them being married are heartbreaking because of the terror she feels every time he walks out the door. Eventually Noge is imprisoned and assassinated by the fascists right before his trial. What Yukie does in response to that is heroic and amazing making her the greatest heroine in the entire Kurosawa oeuvre. A seriously underrated Kurosawa film.
November 26, 2014
These modern directors should watch Kurosawa. They could learn some things.
June 28, 2014
Interesting indictment of the Japanese government and how it kept its citizens under strict censure before and during the war. It's also a message to the people who lived through and supported the repressive regime.
½ April 10, 2013
kurosawa's only female protagonist is played by the amazing setsuko hara, who is essentially a female james dean with a longer career...and who isn't dead. point being: obsession worthy. kurosawa's direction is on fire for such an early point in his career, and the cinematography/lighting is always used to its best. there are a few weirdly-paced montages, but no complaints otherwise. but really it is setsuko hara that carries this movie. damn she can act.
½ February 6, 2012
An extremely impressive film. One of Kurosawa's finest. A love triangle is the vehicle for telling the story of a society sliding into fascism (the elite ruling both gov't and business) and the academic fight (protests and arrests) against the policies of the powerful and the resulting propoganda war against dissent. A healthy parallel can be found into today's 21st society.
½ October 9, 2010
Excellent performance from Setsuko Hara, particularly in the second half of this film. Also, the almost fairy-tale like opening was pretty spectacular. Too bad it didn't really build into anything but the next scene. It might have been interesting to see that recur throughout the movie. (See: "Pan's Labyrinth")
GS
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2011
More of an artistic touch present in this film than in Kurosawa earlier films. This film is well shot, but a little slowly paced that it becomes boring at times to watch. It is a provocative depiction of the struggle of a women. A great look into the lives of students and revolutionaries in Japan during the 1930s. Denjiro Okochi and Susumu Fujita deliver performances which completely made me forget they acted in the Sanshiro Sugata films not so long before this film. Long time Kurosawa collaborator, Takashi Shimura, makes a brief appearance as a not so sympathetic police officer but nonetheless makes his mark on the film with his famous ruminative expression. The most credit goes to Setsuko Hara, with whom I fell absolutely in love with in Ozu's Tokyo Story. Hara undergoes a dynamic change and her ability to show growth and maturity despite being so good at acting as an once naive and careless city girl was very surprising and convincing to watch. Her portrayal of her character is masterful as she enters the rural farmlands to help her in-laws. This is a must-see film from Kurosawa because it is his first real attempt at a serious and complex film and for Hara's brilliant performance.
April 26, 2010
Early Kurosawa and like a lot of his early stuff it sucks. I have a feeling people just rate these movies highly because of the director.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ March 27, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]"In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first." - Ambrose Bierce[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"No Regrets for Our Youth" starts with a group of university students on a leisurely hike when suddenly the gunfire of army maneuvers punctures the calm. Later, what is initially thought to be a snake invading their paradise turns out to be the body of a fallen soldier.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]It is 1933 and Japan has invaded Manchuria which Professor Yagihara(Denjiro Okochi) opposes. His subsequent firing sparks protests not only on campus in Kyoto, but also nationwide. Trying to stay out of the fray, his daughter Yukie(Setsuko Hara) is torn between two fellow students, Noge(Susumu Fujita), leader of the student movement, and Itokawa(Akitake Kono). The protests are quickly crushed by authorities, sending Noge to jail while Itokawa becomes a prosecutor.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]Inspired by real events, "No Regrets for Our Youth" is an inversion of the basic war propaganda movie, advising the populace to not follow the mob but to take a firm stand for what it believes in. Along these same lines, Japan during World War II is portrayed as not being as fanatical as it had been elsewhere. I was pleased to see that peace movements are timeless and universal but also distressed that so is red baiting. As political as this movie is, it is first and foremost a compelling story of personal discovery with a rare female protagonist from Akira Kurosawa that does admittedly drag a little in the middle.[/font]
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½ January 2, 2009
Première oeuvre "aboutie" de Kurosawa, qui en est encore au perfectionnement du style qui fera de lui une légende, No Regrets for Our Youth est la réaction du cinéaste au tumulte de la Seconde Guerre. Conçu entièrement, comme ses huit films suivants, sous le regard de la censure de l'occupation américaine, cette oeuvre n'en souffre toutefois que très peu, puisque ses valeurs pacifiques et sa dénonciation des atrocités auxquelles participa le Japon s'accordent parfaitement avec le message que les États-Unis tentent de véhiculer.

L'histoire est assez simple: Yukie, une universitaire gâtée et égocentrique, tombe amoureuse de Noge, un étudiant activiste, qu'elle finit par épouser. Mais presque du jour au lendemain, l'homme est arrêté pour espionnage et meurt dans sa cellule. Détruite et désillusionnée, Yukie trouve refuge chez ses beaux-parents, cultivateurs pauvres et détestés des villageois, forcés de sortir seulement la nuit. Sous la tutelle de sa belle-mère qui lui fera endurer moult corvées physiques, l'étudiante trouvera un sens à sa vie dans l'entraide et les choses simples.

À ma connaissance, No Regrets for Our Youth est le seul film de Kurosawa dont le protagoniste est une femme. Ce qui n'en fait pas pour autant une oeuvre féministe. Cependant, certains excès de sentimentalisme sont un peu lourds; Yukie verse des larmes, d'autres larmes, puis encore des larmes, en toute circonstance et parfois pour des raisons qui nous échappent. Il semble que Kurosawa ait voulu illustrer la fragilité féminine avec trop d'insistance et pas assez de subtilité. Toutefois, le jeu de Setsuko Hara (Yukie) est parfaitement dans le ton de l'oeuvre, et si celle-ci ne frappe pas avec autant de force que les classiques subséquents du réalisateur, elle demeure tout de même digne d'intérêt, ne serait-ce que pour admirer l'éclosion d'un style qui marquera à jamais le septième art.
July 10, 2008
Again, the development is really slow, but pays off in the end. One of the greatest movie titles. Ever.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2008
one of kurosawa's earliest films, this one has his characteristic great diologue and thoughtful presentation. this is one of my least favorite kurosawa films, it starts well and sort of loses something along the way and the film drags you through things unnecessary to the story. but it was still very good in most respects. when one of kurosawa's worst films could be this good, its just more evidence that he was a master filmmaker.
½ May 14, 2008
Kurosawa's feminist film is expertly made with a very strong female protagonist. The epic scale of this complex story structure helps us understand the changes occurring in modern day (for the time) Japan. Compelling stuff.
½ May 4, 2008
It'??s difficult not to watch the early postwar cinema of Akira Kurosawa without thinking about it in reference to his later masterpieces. However, in No Regrets for Our Youth, it'??s eerily facile to differentiate it from the mammoth accomplishments of Kurosawa's future. Firstly, and most obviously, it is the sole film of Kurosawaâ??s in which the camera takes on the perspective of a woman throughout its runtime. Secondly, Regrets cannot be said to deal with its issues with the emphasis on narrative movement and storytelling clarity which was a major aspect of films like Seven Samurai and Ikiru (even at their most emotionally inward moments). Indeed, this cannot be said to be simply Kurosawa testing out techniques and styles for later use; No Regrets for Our Youth is an accomplishment in its own right.
What makes the film unique is its ability to visually externalize the conflicts, emotions, and ideas of its main protagonist, Yukie. At times, the acting of Setsuko Hara completes this task through the beautifully expressive facial gestures which are a major point of Kurosawaâ??s focus. One can track Yukieâ??s character arc from youthful ambivalence to hopeful outrage through close-ups alone. This style does speak to his later films though, as close-ups of his actors in general, but Takeshi Shimura especially, would become a hallmark of Kurosawaâ??s films. The cinematic techniques utilized in tandem with Hara's acting, though, only serve to increase the emotional conflict throughout the film. One of the scenes in which this is most noticeable is Yukieâ??s reaction to hearing that Nago was going to China. The shot of Yukieâ??s body pressed up against the door fades several times to illustrate her movement rather than concisely having her move. The effect of such a technique is that it frustrates attempts to quantify the issues faced by Yukie into temporal understanding. The fades remove our sense of time by getting rid of linear movement in a narrative which, in the hands of most filmmakers, would conform to our normal understandings about how emotion is illustrated to audiences. Several scenes like this one are sprinkled throughout the film (the movement of Yukieâ??s hands in the water corresponding to a piano, the words of others become the sonic center of the film, etc.) and ground the film in a first person style storytelling which seems much removed from the more objective style he would utilize in most of his films. Of course, the film's other aspects are also laudable; camera movement, story, and shot composition are just a few of the elements that come together to make the film great yet it is these certain scenes which make No Regrets for Our Youth special for me.
½ April 8, 2008
This is the one that I was awkward with. I had no idea what happened at Kyoto. Heck, I have a history degree and I don't know anything about Japanese politics or Kyoto. Wikipedia didn't know anything about it either. Admittedly, Kyoto is not Britney Spears either...

Watching this movie, you eventually find out that it is a union movie and has to do with the attention Communism gets after the second world war. Really, this is one of those films that really lives up to that "Post-War" banner that Eclipse put these movies under. But the interestnig, really good part of this movie is the weird love affair that happens in this film.

That love interest drives this film. So while the first half borderline isn't great for non-post WWII Japanese people, the second half is absolutely riveting. The images of the woman working in the field are some of the best in cinema. The universal themes of alienation and bigotry ride high through this movie in an absolutely stellar form. It's really a shame that I was so turned off by the beginning of this movie.

Kurosawa really seems to have a personal stake in this story. There's a disclaimer at the beginning of this movie that claims that the Kyoto events prove to be inspiration for this film, but it is still a work of ficiton. From what little I found about the subject matter, I call bullshit and I think that he just didn't want to be sued. I mean, this story just pulled a Dragnet and maybe changed the name to protect the innocent. There's allegory, there's metaphor, and then there's this. This is probably a direct adaptation of the real events with a love story thrown in.

I have to reiterate how powerful the end of this movie is. I do like a catharsis for the character. Stagnant characters do little to nothing for me and I'm glad that there's some real power in this movie, despite (I keep saying it) the dull and beginning, I love the scenes in the mud fields. With the water flooding the harvest, I almost lost it. That was actually too much for me. Maybe I'm just becoming a schoolgirl in my old age. (Figure that one out.)

At the end of the day, the movie is really pretty good, but then you have to tolerate all this intro stuff.
½ January 11, 2007
1/30 - The Namesake (Nair, 2007, Rental): 7.5

1/31 - No Regret for Our Youth (Kurosawa, 1946, Rental): 7.5

2/2 - Equinox (Woods, 1970, Rental): 5


2/2 - Waitress (Shelly, 2007, Rental): 8.5
September 22, 2006
I really good early Kurosawa film that was a huge step forward in his abilities as a storyteller-- unfortunately the greatness of the film is marred by the Mei Ah transfer.
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