Scandal [1989]

One of the more obscure early finds in master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's oeuvre, this earnest 1946 film explores the nature of politics and passion. The plot centers around the daughter (Setsuko Hara) of an academic as she is thrust into the political and social turmoil of the years leading into the Second World War. As the fascists rise to power she sees her father stripped of his teaching position and her young lover arrested and executed as her other love interest goes to work for the state. The girl must try to make sense of the tumultuous world around her as she struggles to find her own identity and convictions. The film features some trademark visual sequences of the chaos that consumed pre-war Japan, including riots and military occupation. Director Kurosawa (Rashomon, The Idiot) maintains a studied and deliberate pace as he examines the pull of the girl between her romantic impulses and her sense of right and wrong. A powerful story of loss, redemption and empowerment, No Regrets for Our Youth is a prime opportunity to see one of the cinema's masters at work. --Robert Lane

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