The Lower Depths

Edition no. 239

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The Lower DepthsThe Lower Depths
Toho Co.Roissy Films
Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa, two of cinema’s greatest directors, transform Maxim Gorky’s classic proletariat play The Lower Depths in their own ways for their own times. Renoir, working amidst the rise of Hitler and the Popular Front in France, had need to take license with the dark nature of Gorky’s source material, softening its bleak outlook. Kurosawa, firmly situated in the postwar world, found little reason for hope. He remained faithful to the original with its focus on the conflict between illusion and reality—a theme he would return to over and over again. Working with their most celebrated actors (Gabin with Renoir; Mifune with Kurosawa), each film offers a unique look at cinematic adaptation—where social conditions and filmmaking styles converge to create unique masterpieces.

Technical Specifications

Format: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: French 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono , Japanese 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English
Region: 1
Discs: 2 Discs |  DVD-9

Details by Film


  • Audio commentary on Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths featuring Japanese-film expert Donald Richie (A Hundred Years of Japanese Film)
  • A 33-minute documentary on Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths from the series Akira Kurosawa: It is Wonderful to Create, including interviews with Akira Kurosawa, actress Kyoko Kagawa, art director Yoshiro Muraki, and others
  • Introduction to Jean Renoir’s The Lower Depths by the director
  • Cast biographies for Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths by Stephen Prince, author of The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa
  • Original theatrical trailer for Kurosawa’s The Lower Depths
  • Booklet: New essay by Keiko McDonald (From Book to Screen: Modern Japanese Literature in Films) and Thomas Rimer (A Reader’s Guide to Japanese Literature) for the Kurosawa film; new essay by film scholar Alexander Sesonske, author of Jean Renoir: The French Films 1924-1939, for the Renoir

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The Lower Depths
The Lower Depths

Release Credits

Producer: Kim Hendrickson

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