Akira Kurosawa’s The Idiot, his only adaptation of a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel, was a cherished project on which it is claimed he expended more effort than on any other film. A darkly ambitious exploration of the depths of human emotion, it combines the talents of two of the greatest Japanese actors of their generation – Toshiro Mifune and Setsuko Hara. The Idiot is perhaps the most contemplative of all Kurosawa’s works, a tone which is heightened by the unusual, trance-like performances.
Kurosawa’s electrifying dramatisation uproots the novel’s Russian Summer setting to a memorable, snowbound Hokkaido — the northern-most island of Japan, closest to Russia in climate and custom. War criminal Kameda (Masayuki Mori), reprieved from a death sentence, is fresh out of the asylum, mentally fragile, and prone to epileptic fits. In turn, his emotional involvement with two women (Setsuko Hara and Yoshiko Kuga) and his new, increasingly volatile friend Akama (Toshiro Mifune) leads further into madness and gross tragedy. Cut by the studio after its premiere, this is a restored, longest extant version of this rarely seen film.
- Import DVD
- PAL Region 2
- Production stills gallery
- 32 page booklet with essay by Daryl Chin and a reprint of the section on The Idiot from Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema by Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto.