Rent The Human Condition Trilogy (1959)

4.3 of 5 from 73 ratings
4h 38min
Rent The Human Condition Trilogy (aka Ningen no jôken) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
One of the towering masterpieces of Japanese and world cinema, this three-part war epic has rarely been seen in the UK, at least partly because of its dauntingly gargantuan nine-hour length. Director Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri) was attracted to Junpei Gomikawa's source novel because he recognised himself in the character of the protagonist Kaji, an ardent pacifist who came of age during the aggressively militaristic 1930s and 40s. In part one, 'No Greater Love', Kaji is relocated to a mine-supervising job in Manchuria, where he is horrified by the use of forced labour.
Part two, 'Road to Eternity', sees him conscripted into the Japanese army and forced to fight in the name of an aggressively imperialist cause. Part three, 'A Soldier's Prayer', deals with the consequences of Japan's defeat, not least for Kaji himself. Throughout, Kobayashi unflinchingly examines the psychological toll of appallingly complex decisions, where being morally 'right' risks outcomes ranging from ostracism to savage beating to death. As Kaji, Tatsuya Nakadai (Sanjuro) is in virtually every scene, providing a rock-solid emotional anchor - and a necessary one in Japan, where the film was hugely controversial for being openly critical of the nation's conduct during WWII. But it's this willingness to confront national taboos head-on that makes it such a lastingly powerful experience.
Actors:
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Directors:
Producers:
Shigeru Wakatsuki
Writers:
Zenzô Matsuyama, Masaki Kobayashi, Jumpei Gomikawa
Aka:
Ningen no jôken
Studio:
Arrow Films
Genres:
Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama
Countries:
Japan, Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama
BBFC:
Release Date:
19/09/2016
Run Time:
278 minutes
Languages:
Japanese
Subtitles:
English
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Introduction to the Film by Critic Philip Kemp
  • Selected-Scene Commentary by Philip Kemp
  • Theatrical Trailers
Disc 1:
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Part l - No greater Love
- Special Features
Disc 2:
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Part ll - Road to Eternity
- Special Features
Disc 3:
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Part lll - A Soldier's Prayer
- Special Features
BBFC:
Release Date:
19/09/2016
Run Time:
287 minutes
Languages:
Japanese
Subtitles:
English
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Introduction to the Film by Critic Philip Kemp
  • Selected-Scene Commentary by Philip Kemp
  • Theatrical Trailers
Disc 1:
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Part l - No greater Love
- Special Features
Disc 2:
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Part ll - Road to Eternity
- Special Features
Disc 3:
This disc includes the following episodes:
- Part lll - A Soldier's Prayer
- Special Features

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Reviews (2) of The Human Condition Trilogy

Must watch for Japanese Cinema lovers - The Human Condition Trilogy review by Oli

Spoiler Alert
07/01/2018

I'm not sure where to even begin with this, you may be put off by the length, as I think in all it's about 9 and a half hours long (you can rent them disc by disc anyway like I did) but nevertheless it makes no difference as this is one of the many epics of Japanese cinema, I'd gone into this seeing Harakiri, so I had a slight inkling about Kobayashis style, but it's really an amazing film, It's Taksuka Nakadai in the role of life, playing the common worker Kaji, who must ask himself if what he is doing is wrong or right, and does he really have to do it? I won't spoil too much as there will be spoilers at the end of this film but for anyone who loves Japanese cinema, or even war films, you should immediately love it, and it will take you on a massive tour de force throughout the entire film trilogy. The dialogue and imagery are also some of the best I've ever seen, and you will the conditions have done to perfection that is probably pretty realistic compared to what they were like in WWII. Apologies for the lackluster review, someone had to review first! You will understand when you see it as it's 3 films I've rented within a month, but watch it, it's pretty heavy in places especially, but understand it and respect it.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Landmark in world cinema - The Human Condition Trilogy review by TE

Spoiler Alert
29/08/2019

It's tempting to write a lengthy piece in a vain attempt to convey the glories of this trilogy.

I'll resist that temptation and just say that it is essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in film history, or a passing interest in the human species.

The film explores timeless moral questions.

Don't be put off by the 9 hour length. Savour it, it's more than worth it.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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