No Regrets for Youth


1h 50m 1946
No Regrets for Youth

Brief Synopsis

A woman flees society after seeing her father and lover destroyed by government oppression.

Film Details

Also Known As
No Regrets For My Youth, No Regrets For Our Youth, Waga Seishun Nikuinashi, Waga Seishun ni Kuinashi
Genre
Drama
War
Political
Foreign
Release Date
1946
Production Company
Toho Company Ltd.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Yukie, the well-bred daughter of a university professor, is shocked when her father is relieved of his post for his political teachings, and even more so when her lover, one of her father's students, is arrested, then executed as a spy. She decides to leave Kyoto to live with the boy's parents in their peasant village. But life still has many lessons for her.....

Film Details

Also Known As
No Regrets For My Youth, No Regrets For Our Youth, Waga Seishun Nikuinashi, Waga Seishun ni Kuinashi
Genre
Drama
War
Political
Foreign
Release Date
1946
Production Company
Toho Company Ltd.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

No Regrets For Our Youth - No Regrets for Our Youth


Akira Kurosawa had directed his earliest films during World War II, most of them government propaganda films, even though he personally was opposed to the fascist government. Finally free of wartime restrictions and censorship, he directed his first postwar picture, No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), a powerful character study that traces the life of a woman in the years before and during the war. It's loosely based on two real-life incidents from the 1930s: a university professor was branded a communist and fired because he opposed the militaristic government; and one of his pupils was later accused of espionage and executed. But while these circumstances are plot elements in the fictionalized story, the focus is on the evolution of the professor's daughter, Yukie - No Regrets for Our Youth is the only Kurosawa film to have a woman protagonist. Yukie begins as a romantic, privileged girl, and over the course of a dozen years, she's changed by life, war, love, and loss into a strong woman determined to live her life according to her own principles.

In his memoir, Something Like an Autobiography (1983) Kurosawa wrote, "The title of my first postwar film became a popular phrase...But for me personally, the feeling is the opposite. I have many regrets about this movie. The reason is that the script was rewritten against my will." Although wartime censorship had ended, the film was made following a union strike at Toho Studios, and the union victory had led to the formation of a scenario review committee. The committee turned down Kurosawa's script for No Regrets, not because of content - the union had many communist members - but because another script based on the same subject matter had been submitted. Kurosawa recalls that in the revised script, the story "became somewhat distorted." But he says he was determined to "gamble everything on the last twenty minutes. I poured a feverish energy into those two thousand feet and close to two hundred shots of the film. All the rage I felt toward the Scenario Review Committee went into those final images." And he admitted that he eventually felt that the film succeeded.

Some Western critics have found the first hour of the film slow and confusing, but Donald Richie, a scholar of Japanese film, found the early scenes essential for establishing Yukie's character. In The Films of Akira Kurosawa (1999) he writes, "These mercurial moods, these sudden emotional changes of direction are so true, so real, and yet...so seldom seen on the screen, that at first one almost disbelieves them, particularly when Kurosawa - supremely confident - cuts one on top of the other." The jittery, expressionistic visual style in the early sections of the film was a Kurosawa innovation that Richie compares to the later French New Wave. Richie has high praise for Setsuko Hara, who played Yukie, calling her performance "marvelously detailed and delicate." Hara later became best known for her work with director Yasujiro Ozu.

For Kurosawa, Yukie represented what he saw as Japan's future. According to Richie, "Kurosawa has said that the only way for Japan to make a new start was by respecting the 'self,' the individual." Even though Japanese critics and intellectuals reviled No Regrets for Our Youth and its heroine, Kurosawa said, "This woman I wanted to show as the new Japan. I was right, I still think, to show a woman who lived by and was true to her own feelings. The critics hated her as though she were a man. But she wasn't - that was the point." Richie adds, "What the critics and the public alike resented most deeply was Kurosawa's daring to state that most fundamental of all truth: the road to yourself is the hardest road of all." Looking back on No Regrets for Our Youth, Kurosawa ultimately had no regrets: "It was the first film in which I had something to say, and in which my feelings were used."

Producer: Keiji Matsuzaki
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Screenplay: Eijiro Hisaita, Akira Kurosawa; Keiji Matsuzaki (uncredited)
Cinematography: Asakazu Nakai
Music: Tadashi Hattori
Film Editing: Akira Kurosawa
Cast: Setsuko Hara (Yukie Yagihara), Susumu Fujita (Ruykichi Noge), Denjiro Okochi (Professor Yagihara), Haruko Sugimura (Madame Noge), Eiko Miyoshi (Madame Yagihara), Kokuten Kodo (Mr. Noge), Akitake Kono (Itokawa), Takashi Shimura (Police Commissioner 'Poison Strawberry' Dokuichigo), Taizo Fukami (Minister of Education), Masao Shimizu (Professor Hakozaki), Haruo Tanaka (Student), Kazu Hikari (Detective).
BW-111m.

by Margarita Landazuri
No Regrets For Our Youth - No Regrets For Our Youth

No Regrets For Our Youth - No Regrets for Our Youth

Akira Kurosawa had directed his earliest films during World War II, most of them government propaganda films, even though he personally was opposed to the fascist government. Finally free of wartime restrictions and censorship, he directed his first postwar picture, No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), a powerful character study that traces the life of a woman in the years before and during the war. It's loosely based on two real-life incidents from the 1930s: a university professor was branded a communist and fired because he opposed the militaristic government; and one of his pupils was later accused of espionage and executed. But while these circumstances are plot elements in the fictionalized story, the focus is on the evolution of the professor's daughter, Yukie - No Regrets for Our Youth is the only Kurosawa film to have a woman protagonist. Yukie begins as a romantic, privileged girl, and over the course of a dozen years, she's changed by life, war, love, and loss into a strong woman determined to live her life according to her own principles. In his memoir, Something Like an Autobiography (1983) Kurosawa wrote, "The title of my first postwar film became a popular phrase...But for me personally, the feeling is the opposite. I have many regrets about this movie. The reason is that the script was rewritten against my will." Although wartime censorship had ended, the film was made following a union strike at Toho Studios, and the union victory had led to the formation of a scenario review committee. The committee turned down Kurosawa's script for No Regrets, not because of content - the union had many communist members - but because another script based on the same subject matter had been submitted. Kurosawa recalls that in the revised script, the story "became somewhat distorted." But he says he was determined to "gamble everything on the last twenty minutes. I poured a feverish energy into those two thousand feet and close to two hundred shots of the film. All the rage I felt toward the Scenario Review Committee went into those final images." And he admitted that he eventually felt that the film succeeded. Some Western critics have found the first hour of the film slow and confusing, but Donald Richie, a scholar of Japanese film, found the early scenes essential for establishing Yukie's character. In The Films of Akira Kurosawa (1999) he writes, "These mercurial moods, these sudden emotional changes of direction are so true, so real, and yet...so seldom seen on the screen, that at first one almost disbelieves them, particularly when Kurosawa - supremely confident - cuts one on top of the other." The jittery, expressionistic visual style in the early sections of the film was a Kurosawa innovation that Richie compares to the later French New Wave. Richie has high praise for Setsuko Hara, who played Yukie, calling her performance "marvelously detailed and delicate." Hara later became best known for her work with director Yasujiro Ozu. For Kurosawa, Yukie represented what he saw as Japan's future. According to Richie, "Kurosawa has said that the only way for Japan to make a new start was by respecting the 'self,' the individual." Even though Japanese critics and intellectuals reviled No Regrets for Our Youth and its heroine, Kurosawa said, "This woman I wanted to show as the new Japan. I was right, I still think, to show a woman who lived by and was true to her own feelings. The critics hated her as though she were a man. But she wasn't - that was the point." Richie adds, "What the critics and the public alike resented most deeply was Kurosawa's daring to state that most fundamental of all truth: the road to yourself is the hardest road of all." Looking back on No Regrets for Our Youth, Kurosawa ultimately had no regrets: "It was the first film in which I had something to say, and in which my feelings were used." Producer: Keiji Matsuzaki Director: Akira Kurosawa Screenplay: Eijiro Hisaita, Akira Kurosawa; Keiji Matsuzaki (uncredited) Cinematography: Asakazu Nakai Music: Tadashi Hattori Film Editing: Akira Kurosawa Cast: Setsuko Hara (Yukie Yagihara), Susumu Fujita (Ruykichi Noge), Denjiro Okochi (Professor Yagihara), Haruko Sugimura (Madame Noge), Eiko Miyoshi (Madame Yagihara), Kokuten Kodo (Mr. Noge), Akitake Kono (Itokawa), Takashi Shimura (Police Commissioner 'Poison Strawberry' Dokuichigo), Taizo Fukami (Minister of Education), Masao Shimizu (Professor Hakozaki), Haruo Tanaka (Student), Kazu Hikari (Detective). BW-111m. by Margarita Landazuri

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