No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)
as Professor Yagihara
as Professor's Wife
as Ruykichi Noge
as His Father
as Chief of Police
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Critic Reviews for No Regrets for Our Youth
An important early contribution to the director's oeuvre and a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of his creative style.
Kurosawa explores the maze of shame, honour, tragedy and pride, and the curious stigma attached to those who denounced the country's involvement in the war.
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.
Audience Reviews for No Regrets for Our Youth
Made just one year after WWII ended, Kurosawa's 'No Regrets For Our Youth' explores the lesser-known part of Japan that protested against rising militarism in the 1930's, as well as acknowledges Japan's mistake for having chosen a path that led to such a devastating war, and for that it's a fascinating and important film. It also has an interesting story of a love triangle in which a young woman (Yukie Yagihara, played by Setsuko Hara) is pursued by two young men (Noge and Itokawa), whose personalities are established in the film's opening scene. They're all crossing a creek on stepping stones, and she needs help at the end. Both offer their hands. Noge then strides over confidently and picks her up, carrying her across with her legs flapping, to the annoyance of the conservative Itokawa. They all then run off up a hill together, carefree youth that they are. However, it's 1933, and with Japan's militarism on the rise, their world is about to change. The students protest for freedom, but their movement is crushed, and they must decide whether to continue on with it or conform. Itokawa chooses the latter path; Noge the former. The safe route for Yukie is with Itokawa, but she's drawn to Noge. As she puts to Itokawa while walking with him at night in a fantastic scene, "If I follow you, my life will be peaceful. But...if I may say so...it'll be boring. If I follow him [Noge] something dazzling will await me. My life will be stormy. It terrifies me and fascinates me." Setsuko Hara showed outstanding range in the film, and turned in a great performance. As Noge is possibly leaving her for years, or forever, Kurosawa shows her standing behind a door, torn by rising emotions. She simply can't remain on a conventional path, as she says to her father "Now I feel my life is meaningless - I want to go out into the world and see what it's like to live." She later will have several great scenes on her in-laws' farm, enduring backbreaking labor planting rice, and having to resolutely stand up to people there who insult and shame her for her association with Noge. Kurosawa is a master at letting his actors wordlessly communicate with their faces, and does so brilliantly in a scene when various villagers stare at her. Through it all, she knows that she chose wisely, and recalling Noge's words "No regrets in my life, no regrets whatsoever" gives her strength. Indeed she has no regrets, and this is the title of the film, but it's clear that Kurosawa has regrets for his country's actions, which is the film's irony. It's stirring at the end with messages of individuality and freedom, which are powerful but feel a little over the top, possibly the reflecting script alterations Kurosawa was not happy with, or the oversight and influence of the occupation American censors. I believe a good portion of it, however, was Kurosawa trying to process the shame and humiliation of the war, find something positive, and point to the future, one in which there is a need to at least sometimes think as individuals in order to remain free. One year after the war, Kurosawa essentially admits the country was wrong, something that Japanese officials would struggle with in various forms for decades afterwards. "I look forward to seeing more Noge's in the future, rising from this assembly of young, hopeful students," says the professor at the end, the pain and shame on a couple of faces in the crowd. "You must fight for freedom, and there will be torture and sacrifice in the struggle," he had told Yukie earlier. Artistically these messages feel a bit forced, and yet, we have to admire Kurosawa's courage, and are grateful that such an excellent filmmaker gave us this window into the Japanese psyche in 1946.
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.
[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] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [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] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [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] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [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] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font]
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