The Lower Depths Film Still

The Lower Depths

Akira Kurosawa

 
  • Japan
  • 1957
  • 125 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.33:1
  • Japanese
  •  

Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa, two of cinema’s greatest directors, transform Maxim Gorky’s classic proletariat play The Lower Depths in their own ways for their own times. Renoir, working amidst the rise of Hitler and the Popular Front in France, had need to take license with the dark nature of Gorky’s source material, softening its bleak outlook. Kurosawa, firmly situated in the postwar world, found little reason for hope. He remained faithful to the original with its focus on the conflict between illusion and reality—a theme he would return to over and over again. Working with their most celebrated actors (Gabin with Renoir; Mifune with Kurosawa), each film offers a unique look at cinematic adaptation—where social conditions and filmmaking styles converge to create unique masterpieces.

Cast

Sutekichi (the thief)Toshiro Mifune
Osugi (the landlady)Isuzu Yamada
Okayo (her sister)Kyoko Kagawa
Rokubei (her husband)Ganjiro Nakamura
Yoshisaburo (the gambler)Koji Mitsui
The actorKamatari Fujiwara
Osen (the prostitute)Akemi Negishi
The ex-samuraiMinoru Chiaki
OtakiNijiko Kiyokawa
Tomekichi (the tinker)Eijiro Tono
Asa (his wife)Eiko Miyoshi
Police agentKichijiro Ueda
TatsuHaruo Tanaka
Kahei (the pilgrim)Bokuzen Hidari

Credits

DirectorAkira Kurosawa
ProducersAkira Kurosawa and Shojiro Motoki
ScreenplayAkira Kurosawa
(based on the Maxim Gorky play Na dne)Hideo Oguni
CinematographyKazuo Yamasaki
Art directionYoshiro Muraki
MusicMasaru Sato
SoundFumio Yanoguchi
Sound effectsIchiro Minawa
LightingShigeru Mori

Film Essays

Akira Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths

By Keiko McDonald & Thomas RimerDecember 30, 2003

Akira Kurosawa was a man of his time, who participated fully in the artistic and intellectual . . . Read more »

Photo Galleries

The Magnetic Mifune

April 01, 2014


Film Essays

Akira Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths

By Keiko McDonald & Thomas RimerDecember 30, 2003

Akira Kurosawa was a man of his time, who participated fully in the artistic and intellectual . . . Read more »