This Kurosawa classic shows the Japanese way of doing business. It displays the dealings of Kingo Gondo, one of the four directors of a shoe manufacturing company. His plans however deviate from the ideas of the other 3 directors. This is the trigger for a series of events which give insights in the often highlighted ‘Japanese’ way. A way which was dominant from the 80’s, the years of Reagonomics and onward. Its trigger was the 1984 book from Peters & Waterman on excellence. The Japanese way was, and is still often hailed for its emphasis on structure and discipline. The lean, mean & clean method of organizing which is still very popular nowadays. In 1963, twenty years before the popularization of the Japanese way, the film High & Low however shows a different and more critical approach to this method. Kingo Gondo is the protagonist and his adventures give us insight in whether or not business in Japan means lean, mean & clean, if it is really all about discipline, order and structure, or if some ruptures might occur. We also see the relevance of alcohol and cigarettes. We see how the high infects the low, how heaven fuses with hell, and how Gondo slowly realizes his drive for life.
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Duration: 143 min
Language: Chinese (with English subtitles)