|6:30 p.m.||The Bad Sleep Well|
Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1960)
(Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru). Like High and Low (1962), which described a situation that would come to exist on the front pages ten years later (the political kidnapping of the offspring of wealthy industrialists), The Bad Sleep Well was simply too far ahead of its time to be appreciated in 1960. Seen today, it is amazing how closely its fictional events resemble contemporary revelations of corporate corruption and lawlessness. A brilliant, and highly filmic, drama set against a political background of intrigue, it has been described as Kurosawa’s Hamlet, “a black, twisted story of revenge in which a grieving son takes on powerful business and political figures. . . . Kurosawa tantalizingly reveals the young man’s plot, a bit at a time. He laces this revenge melodrama with dark irony and bitter, grotesque humor, making it a fascinating commentary on the distorted, self-serving values of big business” (Stuart Rosenthal).
• Written by Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Eijiro Hisaita, Ryuzo Kikushima, Shinobu Hashimoto. Photographed by Yuzuru Aizawa. With Toshiro Mifune, Takeshi Kato, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura. (148 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, ’Scope, 35mm, From Janus/Criterion Collection)