The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 15 – Masaki Kobayashi Against the System

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This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor discuss Eclipse Series 38: Masaki Kobayashi Against the System, four films (three early, one mid-career) that help provide a well-rounded understanding of one of Japan’s greatest directors and cultural iconoclasts.

About the films:

One of the most important filmmakers to emerge from Japan’s cinematic golden age, Masaki Kobayashi is remembered in great part today for his three-part epic The Human Condition (1959–61), but that is just one of the blistering films he made in a career dedicated to criticizing his country’s rigid social and political orders. He first found his voice—rebellious, angry, engaged—in the fifties, following his life-altering experiences as a soldier in World War II; the four films collected here, made during the same period as The Human Condition, reflect Kobayashi’s coming into his own as an artist. He fought to get these powerful dramas made at a studio more oriented at the time toward quiet family melodramas, and they are unforgettable depictions of a postwar Japan troubled by identity crises and moral corruption on scales both intimate and institutional.

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Timeline for the podcast:

Introduction/Background (00:00:01 – 00:18:27)

The Thick Walled Room (00:18:28 – 00:48:22)

I Will Buy You (00:48:23 – 01:08:26)

Black River (01:08:27 – 01:28:59)

The Inheritance (01:29:00 – 01:58:15)

Conclusion (01:58:16 – 02:04:51)

Buy The Box Set On Amazon:

EV 38 Kobayashi_3D_Box_original

Episode Links:

Director Overview:

Box Set Reviews: 

The Thick Walled Room:

I Will Buy You:

Black River:

The Inheritance

Next time on the podcast: Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!


Contact us:

Email: theeclipseviewer (at)
David Blakeslee ( Twitter / Website )
Trevor Berrett ( Twitter / Website )

David Blakeslee

David hosts the Criterion Reflections podcast, a series that reviews the films of the Criterion Collection in their chronological order of release. The series began in 2009 and those essays (covering the years 1921-1967) can be found via the website link provided below. In March 2016, the blog transferred to this site, and in August 2017, the blog changed over to a podcast format. David also contributes to other reviews and podcasts on this site. He lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan and works in social services. Twitter / Criterion Reflections