The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, War


The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959) Poster

A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.


8.5/10
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  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
  • The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
  • Tatsuya Nakadai in The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
  • Michiyo Aratama and Tatsuya Nakadai in The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)

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17 May 2008 | shemichaels
9
| One of the greatest anti-war movies of all time
Kobayashi's "The Human Condition" is one of a handful of great anti-war movies. While Japanese film has confronted its own crimes of war more than other cinema, I am only familiar with one other Japanese movie which deals directly with the war & the plight of conscientious objectors: Kurosawa's "No Regrets for Our Youth". Many films deal with the futility of war: "Seven Samurai" & "Yojimbo" come immediately to mind. But "Human Condition" takes on the enormity of war, & the means by which everyone becomes complicit in its total corruption. The hero, though a Conscientious Objector, becomes a colonial occupier, an exploiter of slave labor, an employer of a madam who runs a camp of women & girls impressed into prostitution, & generally runs the gamut of crimes against humanity while trying to maintain his virtue & love's beauty.

Parts II & III also explore the brutality of the army toward its own soldiers, & the complete desecration of the ideals of the Russian Revolution & the cruelty of ordinary Chinese villagers.

"The Human Condition" should be ranked with "Grand Illusion", though what could be as lyrical as the Renoir film? If only this were require viewing in all military academies. If only it were required viewing for all lawmakers & the executive. Is that asking too much?

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Genres

Drama | War

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