Cover image for Dodes'ka-den
Kurosawa, Akira, 1910-1998.
Publication Information:
[Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, [2009]

Physical Description:
1 videodisc (140 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
This film follows the lives of the people who live in a slum, built in a garbage dump. A mentally disabled boy is obsessed with streetcars, driving an imaginary streetcar around, chanting "Dodes'ka-den! Dodes'ka-den!"--mimicking the sound of the wheels. Some of the neighbors are a young woman living with her lecherous uncle; a pair of friends who get drunk and swap wives; a possibly mentally ill beggar and his son who live in a deserted car; and a man with five children who knows he is not the father of any, but treats them as if they were his own. Although they may dream of better times, these people are trapped--both physically and psychologically--doomed to live a life of disappointment (or worse), but many find ways to carry on.
General Note:
Gensaku [Based on the novel by] Yamamoto Sh*ugor*o.

Originally produced as a Japanese motion picture in 1970.

Special features: Akira Kurosawa: it is wonderful to create [featurette] (36 min.); Trailer (4 min.); booklet includes the essay "True Colors" by Stephen Prince and the interview "A Conversation with Teruyo Nogami, " translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter.

Opening credits -- Rokuchan -- Trolley run to Tanba's -- Red, yellow, and Shima -- Sawagamis -- Katsuko and her uncle -- Building a dream house -- Tale of Hei -- Swapping mates -- Beggar's banquet -- "The money is over here" -- "Dodes'ka-den" -- Ocho's return -- Rainy-day visions -- "Eating for two" -- Tricks of the trade -- Angels and demons -- Ryo's children -- Katsuko's aunt returns -- Defending Mrs. Shima -- Ocho's plea -- Pride -- Aches and pains -- "No longer a tree" -- Kyota confronted -- Drunk as usual -- "The worst is over" -- Swimming pool -- All in a day's work -- Color bars.
Reading Level:
MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 40226 Adult DVD Media Room-Foreign Language Video
DVD 40226 Adult DVD Foreign Language

On Order



Dodes'ka-Den (aka Dodesukaden) was Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's first project since Red Beard (1965), and his first ever in color. Kurosawa focuses this time on Tokyo slum life. We watch as a variety of unfortunates debase themselves to survive, yet, somehow, emerge with more innate dignity than the so-called "better" people. While it seems inconceivable that Dodes'ka-Den would fail at the box office, fail it did upon its original release. The Japanese distributors hastily pared down the film's 244 minutes to 140 (unfortunately destroying the original negative in the process), but this version also came a cropper. It was the negative reaction to Dodes'ka-Den, which allegedly prompted Kurosawa to attempt suicide. Happily, he survived to reclaim his industry stature with 1976's Dersu Uzala. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi