No Regrets for Our Youth - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

No Regrets for Our Youth Reviews

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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 24, 2009
pretty different for a Kurosawa movie. Not his best, but I found it more entertaining than some of his later works.

I actually did enjoy it, even though I didn't really get into it that much, if that makes any sense.
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.
½ December 8, 2008
Not my favorite Kurosawa movie, but a great performance from Setsuko Hara. It is quite obvious that she is Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress.
½ November 1, 2008
the power of image and music, something like the aesthetics of silent film
August 30, 2008
This is one of those films it pays to stick with all the way through donâ??t quite after the first act). By the end, I could see where it fit in with the rest of Kurosawaâ??s work and that it was powerful and relevant. I suspect this film would be much more engaging if I were more interested in or more knowledgeable about the events that surround the beginning of the story. As it is, the first act was not terribly entertaining or interesting. The pacing right wasnâ??t quite right, in my opinion, at the outset. Slow can be good, but it doesnâ??t work if the story isnâ??t well constructed and/or well presented. However, this was simply my impression of the first act. Setsuko Hara gives a wonderful performance and is extremely beautiful as well. She makes the film work. There are some very inventive and effective montage sequences, particularly when she is carrying the backpack through the farming town and when planting the rice. There were a number of scenes that reminded me of some of Kurosawaâ??s samurai period pieces as well as segments of Dreams. The title is extremely apt and the message couldnâ??t be more clear or powerful. One can certainly imagine where Kurosawaâ??s sympathies lie as the film was made very soon after the Japanese Empireâ??s downfall. I sense this is the kind of film that would grow in power with additional viewings.
July 23, 2008
Hara is absolutely marvelous, but the film itself is great too. The techniques are clearly influenced by Eisenstein and Dovzhenko, in fact the whole thing closely resembles a Soviet propagnda film, in style and content. Indeed, it also carries that same bluntness, which is its greatest drawback. It could also be said that Kurosawa doesn't capture women particularly well (this was his ONLY movie with a female protagonist), but I guess not everyone can have Mizoguchi's talent in that area.
July 10, 2008
Again, the development is really slow, but pays off in the end. One of the greatest movie titles. Ever.
July 5, 2008
i loved this story till the end. has a great story, plot and cast. i highly recommend this film.
June 3, 2008
The last act completely saves the film, but it could have used some trimming in the middle. Kurosawa was still finding his way.
June 2, 2008
Kurosawa was noticeably getting his barrings in this one, because the first half of the film is somewhat of a mess. One part melodrama, one part political-message film, "No Regrets for Our Youth" is saved from utter failure by a strong last act and a worthy performance by Susumu Fujita.
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 26, 2008
Itâ??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, itâ??s eerily facile to differentiate it from the mammoth accomplishments of Kurosawaâ??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 Haraâ??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 filmâ??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 10, 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 April 8, 2008
It's nice to see Setsuko Hara outside of an Ozu film for a change. The movie started off slow, but the master storyteller takes it to another gear in the second half. The reform of Hara's character is the prime example of how great Kurosawa is.
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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