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the human condition

September 9, 2009

[Slate] Like a stinging rebuke to Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, this week the Criterion Collection releases a three-disc set of Masaki Kobayashi‘s 1959 World War II masterpiece, The Human Condition. Deep where Basterds is shallow, expansive where Basterds is puny, and profound where Basterds is glib, Kobayashi’s humanist triumph is finally getting the Western exposure it deserves. Previously unavailable in the United States, a restored version was screened last year at New York City’s Film Forum and proved to be so popular that it was brought back for a return engagement. Not bad for a movie that is nine-and-a-half hours long (spread over three films) and so monumentally painful to watch that it stands as the Grand Canyon of despair. (read review)

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