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Masaki Kobayashi
portrait

Date of Birth: Feb 14, 1916

Country: Japan

Biography: Kobayashi began a career in film in 1941 by entering Shochiku Studios as an apprentice director, but his career was almost immediately interrupted when he was drafted into the army and sent to Manchuria--ending up as a POW during the Sino-Japanese war. His most famous film, the epic "The Human Condition", set in a Manchurian forced labour camp, was partly based on his experience. Kobayashi regarded himself as a pacifist. His way of resisting was to refuse promotion to a rank higher than private.

Total Titles at Criticker: 25 - You've Seen 0

Biography last updated by dardan, and picture by SirRobbie

Find more information about Masaki Kobayashi at The Internet Movie Database

Titles You Haven't Rated: Director (22) | Writer (9)
Ordered by Year | PSI
Dora-heita (2000)
Samurai Koheita Mochizuki, who goes by the nickname Dora-Heita, meaning "alley cat" or "playboy," pretends to be an alcoholic magistrate but is in actuality an envoy from the daimyo sent to clean up the corrupt and lawless town. His task is complicated by the unexpected arrival of his mistress Kosei. (imdb)
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Shokutaku no nai ie (1985)
Based on a novel by Fumiko Enji, "Shokutaku no nai ie" chronicles the hardships faced by the various members of a family due to a crime committed by the eldest son. (movie.goo.ne.jp (translated))
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Tokyo Trial (1983)
Kobayashi has edited the enormous material recorded at the Tokyo trials 1946 - 1948, released by the Pentagon in 1980. The narrator explains the complex issues that arose during the trial, among these some that are discussed vigorously to this day. To what extent can a court set up by an occupying nation be considered legal? How should one regard the act of declaring that "crimes against peace" have taken place - when no precedent exists? Is the starting of a war a war-crime in itself? (imdb)
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Moeru aki (1979)
A woman interested in Persian carpets learns of the 5000-year history behind one carpet, and begins to look for something even more important in life than love and happiness... A co-production between Toho Studios and the Mitsukoshi department store. Based on a novel by Hiroyuki Itsuki. (movie.goo.ne.jp (translated))
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The Fossil (1975)
An industrialist learns of a medical condition which will greatly shorten his life. He is on a trip to Europe at the time, and a glimpse of a Japanese woman in that setting causes him to fantasize about her as the personification of his impending death. As his dialogue with his imagined mortality continues, he actually meets the living woman who is the template for his fantasy, and together they tour rural churches. (All Movie Guide)
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Inn of Evil (1971)
The story takes place in feudal Japan, when any commerce with the rest of the world was strictly prohibited. An idealist suddenly appears in an isolated inn (the one that the title refers to), the head-quarters of a group of smugglers, with stolen money intended to ransom his loved one who is forced to work in a brothel. (imdb)
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Nihon no seishun (1968)
During WWII a soldier is beaten so badly by a superior officer he is left deaf. After the war he is an inventor and meets this officer at the patent office. The man is still the bully he was. (imdb)
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Samurai Rebellion (1967)
During peace in 1725, aging swordsman Isaburo is living a henpecked life when his clan lord requests that Isaburo's son marry the lord's mistress... (imdb)
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Kwaidan (1964)
This film contains four distinct, separate stories. "Black Hair": A poor samurai who divorces his true love to marry for money... (imdb)
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Karami-ai (1962)
On his deathbed, a wealthy businessman announces that his fortune is to be split equally among his three illegitimate children, whose whereabouts are unknown to his family and colleagues. A bevy of lawyers and associates then begin machinations to procure the money for themselves, enlisting the aid of impostors and blackmail. (criterion.com)
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Harakiri (1962)
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn. (imdb)
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The Human Condition III: A Soldier
In this third part of the trilogy Kaji, a Japanese WWII soldier, finds himself struggling to survive behind enemy lines towards the end of the war.
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The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
First of a trilogy of films. During the Second World War, a Japanese conscientious objector named Kaji works as a supervisor in a Manchurian prison camp. He hopes to avoid duty as a soldier, but he also hopes to be helpful to the welfare of his prisoners. An escape attempt by Chinese prisoners results in Kaji's arrest for collusion. He faces the possibility of transferral to combat -- or worse
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The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959)
Second part of a trilogy. Conscientious objector Kaji, now forced to serve in the Japanese army during the Second World War... (imdb)
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Black River (1957)
The story is set around an American Air Force base which has attracted bars and brothels and the native Japanese who need this sordid world to scape by and make money to just barely survive. A love triangle develops among the dwellers of a falling down apartment building and a local gangster called Killer Joe. (imdb)
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Kabe atsuki heya (1956)
Drama about a group of rank-and-file Japanese soldiers jailed for crimes against humanity adapted from the diaries of real prisoners. (criterion.com)
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Anata kaimasu (1956)
A pitiless take on Japan's professional baseball industry. An excoriation of the inhumanity bred by a mercenary, bribery-fueled business, it follows the sharklike maneuvers of a scout dead set on signing a promising athlete to the team the Toyo Flowers. (criterion.com)
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Izumi (1956)
A botanist woos the secretary of an industrialist whose company threatens the local water supply. (KG)
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Uruwashiki saigetsu (1955)
A romantic drama depicting the lives of two generations of a family who run a florist shop in Tokyo. (KG)
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Mittsu no ai (1954)
The first film where Kobayashi served as both director and writer, Mittsu no ai follows the lives of six people in a quiet village in the Japanese highlands...
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Kono hiroi sora no dokoka ni (1954)
SOMEWHERE BENEATH THE WIDE SKY (1954, aka KONO HIROI SORA NO DOKOKA NI) came near the end of Masaki Kobayashi's formative period as a director -- scripted by the sister of his mentor Keisuke Kinoshita (and scored by Kinoshita's brother), this drama of middle-class life in postwar Japan tells the story lower-middle-class workers in the city of Kawasaki, and their troubles and travails. (KG)
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Sincerity (1953)
SINCERE HEART (1953, aka MAGOKORO) was Masaki Kobayashi's second film as a director -- but as with his first, YOUTH OF THE SON, it is something of a hybrid work, influenced heavily by his longtime mentor Keisuke Kinoshita, who wrote the screenplay. The resulting film is a deeply passionate and sentimental drama about a young student (Akira Inshihama) who falls into a hopeless romantic attraction to an invalid girl (Keiko Awaji) whom he can only see from afar. (Hulu)
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Musuko no seishun (1952)
The story of a father and two teenaged sons, and the rivalry between the two siblings as they begin to discover the attraction of girls (Hulu)
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Yotsuya kaidan (1949)
A psychological take on the classic myth.
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Broken Drum (1949)
An early Kinoshita film in which the feudal traditions of the Japanese family unit are lightly satirized. Broken Drum was mentioned very positively as being "successful" by Donald Richie in his overviews of Japanese film. It was co-written by the great Kobayashi Masaki, and Narushima Toichiru worked on it as an assistant director (along with Kobayashi), who would go on to be an important new wave cinematographer for Oshima and Yoshida as well as a director in his own right. (Steven H)
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