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Akira Kurosawa's The Lower Depths, an adaptation of Maxim Gorky's classic proletarian play. Instead of his usual broad canvas, Kurosawa instead explores the possibilites of the stage in this film, finding intimacy in his examination of a group of destitutes, set during one of Japan's most prosperous ages. Starring an ensemble cast led by frequent collaborator Toshiro Mifune, the film is a Buddhist meditation on the human condition, yet also a poignant and comic investigation of the conflict between illusion and reality.