The Idiot (Hakuchi)

In Wheeler Auditorium

Admission: $2.50

Dostoevsky's essential quality, the suffering for mankind that comes from the deepest compassion, is also at the heart of Kurosawa's greatest films, particularly Drunken Angel, Ikiru, and his only direct adaptation of Dostoevsky, The Idiot. Kurosawa obviously poured his soul into this adaptation, which translates very well to a setting in the snow-country of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island with many historical connections to Russia and a westernized populace given to wintry introspection. The visuals are stunning, and Kurosawa's fidelity to the characterizations and themes of his “favorite author” is near-fanatic. An ingenious scenario finds Myshkin personified as Kameda, an ex-soldier who narrowly escaped death and is now given to practicing total selflessness in his relations to fellow men: in the role of “the idiot” Masayuki Mori conveys the sentiments of gentility and goodness with the proper degree of obsessiveness. As the wild, uncouth Akama (Rogozhin), Toshiro Mifune is well-cast, Setsuka Hara gives a poignant performance as Taeko (Natasha), the lost, desperate woman who brings on tragedy and madness for the two men. Originally released in a mutilated 90-minute version, our print of The Idiot runs 165 minutes.

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