A "failure"

Summer 2022-09-08 06:49:00

For a person, no matter how many times he has fallen, he can stand up by himself as long as he works hard; however, no matter how big or small the wound is, it probably won't heal.

The year after the filming of "Trolley Mania", Akira Kurosawa attempted suicide. When he was found, he made 21 cuts on himself and lay in his bathtub covered in blood. The most severely injured neck incision was 15 cm long and 5 cm deep. Fortunately, the artery was not injured. That's what happened in late 1971. If he had not been rescued at that time, then there would be no such classics as "Shadow Warrior", "Ran" and "Dream".

For this gray past, Akira Kurosawa, the party involved, has remained silent. So the reason for his suicide is still a mystery. But looking back on Akira Kurosawa's magnificent life, the years before his suicide were indeed the darkest years in his life. By accident, he first lost the opportunity to direct the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and then broke with his old club Toho. At the same time, he began to cooperate with Hollywood. Just when he was smug about conquering Hollywood, he was repeatedly frustrated. In the process of directing the Hollywood action film "Runaway Train", he felt limited everywhere and was forced to give up the guide tube because he was "unaccustomed" to Hollywood's filming habits. Then 20th Century Fox invited Akira Kurosawa to shoot "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! "However, the filming process was full of circumstances, and it was difficult for Kurosawa to work with the new crew. The stumbling and stumbling lasted for several months, and finally was "fired" by 20th Century Fox. The reason turned out to be that Akira Kurosawa suffers from "neuropathy".

After breaking up with Hollywood, Akira Kurosawa returned to China. At this time, Japan's economy is developing rapidly, and the TV industry has sprung up. People's main entertainment method has changed from movies to TV. Akira Kurosawa, who has always been responsible for revitalizing Japanese movies, is facing the slump of the Japanese movie industry. During this period, he parted ways with his old partner Toshiro Mifune, and the two never worked together until their death. Just the day before Kurosawa Akira committed suicide, the Japanese company Daiei, which had produced "Rashomon", declared bankruptcy... All these are piled up in front of Kurosawa Akira, and it can be said that misfortunes do not come singly. What is less known is that Akira Kurosawa was plagued by convulsions throughout his life. In his autobiography "The Oil of Toads", he mentioned that he had frequent convulsions since he was a child, and when he grew up, he would also lose consciousness briefly at work. In addition, Kurosawa Akira's paranoid character of pursuing perfection is not surprising that he is labeled as "difficult to get along with" and "mental illness".

"Toad's Oil" Japanese Version

Life is full of all kinds of pain, even for a generation of film masters.

All of these are probably less than the huge blow that the box office fiasco of "Trolley Mania" brought him. The standard of "Trammania" is not bad, but even with the escort of the "Four Horsemen" of Kun Ichikawa, Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita and Masaki Kobayashi, it cannot satisfy the audience's increasingly discerning taste. In order to raise funds for the film, Akira Kurosawa poured all his capital and mortgaged his own house. Unexpectedly, the failure of the film made him almost bankrupt. Although there is no evidence that "Trolley Mania" is related to Kurosawa Akira's suicide, after the box office fiasco, Kurosawa Akira's own film production company closed down, and he was equivalent to being unemployed. At that time, no one dared to ask him to make a film, but It is also an indisputable fact. Some even said that "the era of Akira Kurosawa is over". For a director who regards film as his life, this kind of blow is fatal. Akira Kurosawa once said, "Subtracting film from me (from me) is equal to zero."

"Tiger Falling Pingyang" can roughly describe Kurosawa Akira's situation at the time. In order to make a living, he even accepted the filming of TV dramas that he usually despised, and wrote scripts for some TV dramas. "That is a kind of self-loathing. I feel myself I was immersed in the world of TV, and suddenly felt disgusting. TV things, I really can't do it, it's rough." Kurosawa said later when he looked back on this experience.

In the year when "Trolley Maniac" encountered Waterloo, Akira Kurosawa was just 60 years old, what the ancients called a Jiazi. No one could have imagined that, especially for Kurosawa Akira, the days that should have been festive were so bleak. It can be said that "Trolley Mania" is a movie that almost changed Akira Kurosawa's life, almost driving him into the abyss of destruction.

"Dersu Uzala" poster

But heaven is always looking at the world with compassion, he did not rush to recall the movie giant to heaven, but gave him another chance to live. After the attempted suicide, Akira Kurosawa directed the Soviet film "Dersu Uzala", which won the Oscar for the best foreign language film of the year. Looking back at the film "Trolley Maniac" now, although it is not perfect, it is not a "failure" as people say.

From the point of view of commercial profit, "Trolley Mania" is of course a failure. Is it not a failure to lose all the money? From the perspective of audience psychology, it is not difficult to understand. After all, the public's aesthetics always tend to be simple entertainment. Classical literature and art are the second most important thing. There are also many precedents. And "Trolley Mania" is not entertaining enough, but it does a lot of literary and social criticism, so the audience doesn't buy it.

From the perspective of film art, "Trolley Maniac" is undoubtedly a success, and can even be called a classic. It was a bold exploration and innovation by Akira Kurosawa in film art, not only tried multiple lines (at least There are 8 clues, you can refer to the 5 clues of "Red Beard") narrative, and also incorporates his compassionate feelings, so the film won the "Catholic Humanitarian Spirit Award" at the Venice Film Festival that year.

Stills of "Trolley Maniac"

So far, I have seen a lot of realist films by Akira Kurosawa, such as "Wild Dog", "Heaven and Hell", "Desire for Life", and "Sweet Dreams of the Evil Man", which are all excellent. "It will not be eclipsed, on the contrary, it also exudes a different kind of human brilliance, and even permeates a more mature atmosphere.

As Akira Kurosawa's first color film, this film is very sophisticated in the use of color, and the picture is like a stagnant oil painting. Especially the slums illuminated by the sunset have a decadent and grotesque beauty. The 8 sections of the city's life are concentrated in only 140 minutes of film, but they are not crowded and awkward. The human nature is consistent, and the water is smooth and smooth, just like many rivers finally merge into the sea. In this film, which is filled with the rich texture of life at the bottom, the 8 stages of life are almost 8 aspects of society. When they are intertwined, they become a three-dimensional and vivid community structure.

In these tragic and joyful life whispers, there are bizarre and absurdity everywhere. Among the various people who appeared, although they had different backgrounds and encounters, they had animal nature and human nature as well as divinity. Most of the people are ordinary people who are trapped by original sin, and there are also beasts who are not as good as the beasts, that is, the beastly uncle who was drinking all day and forced his niece to work as a coolie and raped her. There are also people who exude divine brilliance, such as the old man who lives alone. He is very much like the priest who saved Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables". When a thief came to his house to steal, he not only did not scold him, but also took the initiative to give him his belongings. , When the thief was caught and came to the crime scene to identify him, he also smothered the thief. Perhaps in his heart, to save a soul, he only needs a love of empathy, rather than hostility and shackles. Some people think that life is too hard and want to commit suicide. The old man did not discourage him, but handed him the "poison" directly. After the bitter master swallowed it, he regretted it too much. At this time, the old man said that life is worth nostalgic, while saying that it is false. Medicine, people who want to commit suicide suddenly wake up. The old man is using his divinity to save the world.

Stills of "Trolley Maniac"

Among those ordinary people, the most absurd is the "wife-swapping foursome". After they changed husband and wife, their relationship became more intimate. After they changed back, the wife did not know the original husband. What an irony. The most heart-wrenching thing is the pair of homeless father and son. They are so embarrassed that they have nowhere to live and have nothing to eat. They can only rely on alms from others to make a living, but they are still immersed in a fantasy world all day long. With some unrealistic words, such as "Japanese people should build a house on the mountain", "What kind of door should a big house use to look good", "How should the interior of the house be arranged properly", the child still died of illness, but he may not feel it. to pain, right? After all, their spiritual world is so full.

There are also warm scenes. For example, a man has adopted a lot of children. In the face of gossip, the child asks whether he is biological. The man smiled and said, "Do you believe me or someone else?" "Believe Dad". For example, a rude wife who treats her husband rudely and treats guests impolitely. After being complained by the guest, her husband turns around and beats the guest, just because he does not allow others to accuse his wife, no matter how rude she is, she is always The "worry wife" who shares weal and woe with himself. In addition, there are stories of despair. The husband was beaten because of his wife's derailment, and he chose to live in the shadow of depression all his life. Even if his wife finally came to ask for forgiveness and reconciliation, it still could not shake his determination.

Stills of "Trolley Maniac"

In these 8 periods of life, my favorite is still the mentally retarded young man Xiao Liu. He went home on time, stupidly, all day, driving a car that didn't exist beside the garbage dump, "playing games" by himself up and down the corridors, shouting loudly. He was ridiculed by the people around him, and his mother had to pray that he would recover soon. But he is not useless. At the end of the film, there are many paintings of buses on the walls of his house. I think it is his work. Every stroke is full of innocent innocence. Under the sunlight, it exudes pieces of bright golden light, which also makes the audience understand from the side that this is a person with a pure heart. I think Akira Kurosawa likes the actor who plays Xiaoliu very much. His name is Toushi Jiaxiao. He once played the distressed little boy who stole porridge for his family in "Red Beard".

Stills of "Trolley Maniac"

To be able to tell so many profound and moving stories in one movie, but also to reach the subtle inner world of human nature, to expose and criticize all kinds of problems in a morbid society, all these can only be done by a handful of master-level filmmakers. Yes, Akira Kurosawa is like that. Therefore, "Trolley Man" is a "great failure". Its status in film history will be completely corrected by time. The audience who really "knows the goods" will come to worship the classics, and as the creator of the film, Akira Kurosawa will definitely regret the original Choose to commit suicide? For a person, no matter how many times he has fallen, as long as he works hard, he can stand up on his own; no matter how big or small the wound is, it probably won't heal. There is no need to feel ashamed for the failure of the previous efforts.

The world is ups and downs, the world is like this, your loneliness is glorious even if you are defeated.

(I would like to commemorate the unique "movie emperor" Akira Kurosawa with this article)

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Dodes'ka-den quotes

  • Mr. Nomoto: I'm outraged by her! Who is she? How can she call herself a wife? I'm not mad about how rude she was to us. But what a way to treat her husband! She doesn't greet you when you come home. And she leaves you alone with your guests. I can't take it! That's not how a wife should behave! If I were you, I would kick her out!

  • Ochô: You won't talk to me? I understand. I can't say anything more about you blaming me. Not after you saw what I did. What was the matter with me? I don't understand myself. Something like a wild beast was in me. I couldn't control myself. It wasn't like I loved him more than you. Believe me. I know you suffered a lot. But I've had a hard time of it too. My mother felt sorry for you. She didn't forgive me as long as she lived. Since her death, I've hated and blamed myself. I hear that even a criminal who's committed murder is pardoned after serving his time. If there's something that would satisfy you, please tell me. I'll do anything to make it up to you.