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Criterion Collection: Dodes'Ka-Den [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Yoshitaka Zushi , Kin Sugai , Akira Kurosawa    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £18.78
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Frequently Bought Together

Criterion Collection: Dodes'Ka-Den [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Akira Kurosawa's Dreams [DVD] [1990] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price For Both: £27.92

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Product details

  • Actors: Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Toshiyuki Tonomura, Shinsuke Minami, Yûko Kusunoki
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Shinobu Hashimoto, Shûgorô Yamamoto
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Kon Ichikawa
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Mar 2009
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O549G6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,990 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Down in the dumps 26 Jun 2009
By technoguy VINE VOICE
Kurosawa is like the young mentally challenged character,Rokuchan,driving his pretend trolley-bus around the garbage heap shanty town on the outskirts of Tokyo.Ploughing his own non-commercial furrow in the film world. Dodes'ka-den being the sound of the trolley on the tracks(with added sound effects).He is stubborn and thought of as stupid('trolley-freak!) by the neighbouring children,who throw stones(critics and public alike).Based on Yamamatos' stories(as was his previous film Red Beard) it's about the daily lives of a group of slum dwellers barely scraping by.This was his first colour film(1970) and he imbues it-like the painter he was- with a kind of magical realism of glorious colour.All the characters-the homeless beggar and his son imagining their dream house, the young woman abused by her lecherous uncle,the trolley boy,the drunken labourers and their wives,the kindly Ryo affectionately tending to his wife's many children,Tanba,a kindly and wise village elder-find reasons to carry on.They do this through dreams,humourous fantasy,gossip and alcohol.It weaves together their stories as a series of anecdotes.One husband has a mannered tic(like a clock winding up) and he sticks with his rather aggressive wife because she stuck with him through all the bad times and he fights a guest who complains of her lack of courtesy.We have a marvellous group of women by the water tap at the centre of the settlement commenting upon everybody going by.Kurosawa shot the film in record time(a month)to economise and found a radical new style.Kurosawa's colour scheme-bold,aggressive and counter to nature-is a stylized chromaticism.Even the ground has been spray painted.His use of colour is pictorial and symbolic.Kurosawa's abiding concern is with the poor,the alienated and the destitute leavened with surprising humour and lightness of touch.This film will be worth seeing if you are interested in world
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dodes'ka-Den 26 May 2009
Dodes'ka-Den shows the everyday lives of slum dwellers on the outskirts of Toyko. They get through their difficult daily existance through dreams,alcohol and local gossip. It was made at a difficult time in Akira Kurosawa's career and life and its financial failure (amongst other things) led to a suicide attempt. The film mixies social realism with dark humour.

Dodes'ka-Den is not up to the standards of Kurosawa's truly great films. Some of the humour did to me fall abit flat at times and perhaps even on the odd occasion there is a little sentimentality. However, the film shows the characters in all their nobility and flaws with affection. This was Kurosawa's first film in colour and its saturated with distinct bright colours, within very dour subject matter.

Despite some flaws Kurosawa's humanitarism shines through. Its no masterpiece but it is the work of a master.

Criterion have produced their usual excellent standards with this Dvd. There is a very interesting 36 minute documentary but no commentary. I am grateful to them for releasing what is after all, one of Kurosawa's rarer films.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dodes'Ka Den 1 Sep 2010
I cant watch it on my DVD. I was so looking forward to it. But Thanks anyhow.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First colour film by Kurosawa is sadly underrated work 2 Jan 2004
By Daniel J. Hamlow - Published on
If I were living like any of the people of the Tokyo slums in Akira Kurosawa's first colour film, Dodes'ka-den, like them, I'd be living in illusion and imagination to counter the squalid conditions. Living for them, but in my case, it'd be drowning. That's the premise of this movie, a testament to the human spirit and how it keeps on going despite adversity.
There's no plot in this film, as it tells of the various people living in the slums, some in coloured tin corrugated roofs, others in dirty, dingy travesties of huts, and in the case of an oddball boy who pretends he's a streetcar conductor and spends all day shuffling to who knows where. He goes through the motions, putting on his cap, pushing the buttons, pulling levers, and muttering the words "Dodes'ka-den." Which leads to the title. It's a Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound a train makes on the tracks. Roughly translated, it's like clackety-clack. The smaller kids who see him throw pebbles at him and cry out "trolley crazy."
My favourite characters are the bedraggled derelict and his young son who live in a beaten up, wheelless VW bug. The son goes out at night and gets scraps from a friendly sushi shop man. During the day, the father discusses their dream house, and we see his designs, from the gate, fence, and house, come alive, with dramatic sounds and colour. He must have been an architect or designer, and he escapes his squalid condition by envisioning a dreamhouse. There's a vivid example of colour cinematography at work, when standing under glaring yellow sky, we see the eerie blue light cast on him and his son, ill from food poisoning.
The drunken buddies who swap wives are two of the most colourful, but there's an interesting theme. Both couples are colour coordinated, clothes, house, even wash basins. And at times, they swap wives. The yellow husband is so drunk, he stays at his buddy's red house and with his wife, while his buddy goes to his house. Wonder how many bottles of sake they drink after work. But the wifeswapping has dual meaning, an escape from the ordinary, but also a lack of symmetry that is restored when both yellow-coded husband and wife are reunited and the same with the red-coded couple.
Then there's Tamba, the druggist, a man in his seventies or early eighties who's a wise, sage, and compassionate character. The way he defuses a violent sword-wielding drunk is amazing! I won't get into specifics but he shames the drunk into going to bed. He also helps a man wanting to commit suicide a reason to go on living. He seems to represent the face of an older and uncomplicated Japan, experienced by the past, living as he can in the present.
Hei is the most haunting, and his eyes are that of a dead man. He never says a word in the movie, and it's clear that he has been deeply traumatized by something in his past, which we learn later. It's as if his soul has been drained. A character looks at a tree and wonders what kind of tree it is, before saying "it's no longer a tree when it's dead." Substitute man for tree and we get Hei. Oh, and me as well.
Shima is a salaryman who's nice enough, but he has a funny walk nearly like the Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks man and a facial tic that drives him into a brief fit, complete with snorting. The tic represents that there's more to a person than a mere flaw.
Some of the info we get from the gossiping circle of women who spend the day doing the laundry in the slum square, including a sensuous long-haired woman who seems to know it all, and witnessing the parade of life.
This was Kurosawa's first of seven colour films and its failure culminated in him attempting suicide. Understandable, as despite its being panned, it's actually a sober, at times depressing, but ultimately hopeful look at people. Very underrated film that's deeply in need of reappraisal.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dodes'ka-Den 22 Feb 2005
By Felipe "Sushi" - Published on
I remember seeing this movie on TV a while back and always wanting to watch it again, but found it too hard to find. I don't like how underrated this movie is. Sure its not as good as Kurosawa's masterpieces like Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Ran (what movies are?) but it still deserves attention, as it is a great film nonetheless. Like a Yasujiro Ozu film (Floating Weeds, A Tokyo Story) this movie has a pretty simple story and characters, but deep emotions. I finally got my hands on the import DVD and its better than I even remember it. When I heard that this movie has been shaved off 100 minutes and the complete, uncut edition can't be found anywhere, I was kinda depressed. I mean, this is already a great film, but with those extra 100 minutes, (if they were really good!), could have rivaled Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Ran as Kurosawa's masterpiece. But I guess we'll never know unless some DVD company (cough, cough... Criterion Collection) can find the original negative and give us the complete edition on DVD. How sad... a great movie like this being a box office failure, it deserves so much better than this. No wonder Kurosawa attempted suicide! Oh, well, this movie is fine as it is and still great in its cut version. I just really hope I can see the complete version someday! If you are a Kurosawa fan, you should still buy this movie! (don't be turned off at the fact that this was a commercial, financial, and box office failure!)
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something really different... 6 Jan 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Kurosawa's first color film originally came in at 244 minutes and the studio executives were aghast. They quickly cut it to about 140 minutes and reportedly destroyed the original negative in so doing. This along with the lack of public and critical acceptance at the time drove the great genius to a suicide attempt. In it's original form it could well have been Kurosawa's great masterpiece. As it is, it's a little quixotic and hard to follow, but a stunning piece of movie making. The children's train drawings shown during the prayer scenes were collected by Kurosawa from children all over Japan for this film. It is pointless to recap the story, but I just say to you see it and you'll never forget it. Perhaps Criterion could find the orignal version when it comes out on DVD, let's hope so!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clackety-clack: a brilliant look at poverty in Japan (or anywhere, actually) 13 Jan 2006
By Bomojaz - Published on
Kurosawa's first color film and a magnificently poignant and deeply human tribute to a group of slum dwellers living in a modern Japanese city. It consists of a series of vignettes, all held together by their commonly shared poverty motif, and are about: a dreamer who imagines building a mansion and his son who dies from eating spoiled food he's begged from restaurants; a crippled man who defends his ungrateful wife; a young girl who slaves for her drunken uncle who gets her pregnant; a kind old man who gives away what little he has to a thief; two drunken men who exchange wives and then switch back again; a blind man who cannot forgive his adulterous wife; and a retarded boy who imagines he operates a trolley car and goes up and down the streets hollering "Dodes 'ka-den" (which means "clackey-clack"). The scenes are at once heartbreaking and comic, and not for a moment does Kurosawa stoop to sentimentality or preachiness. The cinematography is stunning. A major movie-watching experience.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Letterboxed 15 Nov 2005
By Scott - Published on
It doesn't say it in the Amazon description or the video box, but the film is letterboxed to about 1.66:1 (which appears to be the original aspect ratio).

Since Kurosawa was a master of using the whole frame, this is very good news. I was prepared to live with a pan-and-scan edition; finding that it was letterboxed was a very nice surprise.

Also, according to the IMDB trivia page, the "244-minute original running time" is a myth.
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