Gondo receives a call that his son has been kidnapped. Then it transpires that it is not his son but that of his chauffeur. What would you do?
The Hyderabad Film Club, as part of the ongoing retrospective on Japanese Director Akira Kurosawa from 14th to 18th October, is screening High And Low, on 17th October at the Sarathi Studios.
Based on Ed McBain's novel King's Ransom, High And Low illuminates its world with a wholeness and complexity you rarely see in a film. Akira Kurosawa weaves together character study, social commentary and police procedure. It's not one of his masterpieces, but High And Low fully illustrates why Kurosawa is regarded as Japan's foremost director.
A rich businessman, Gondo, has mortgaged all his assets in a bid to take control of the shoe company in which he holds a stake. He is just about to send his right-hand man to catch a Tokyo flight to close the deal when a phone call informs him that his only son has been kidnapped for a huge ransom.
But almost immediately it is discovered that his son is safe at home and that the chauffeur's boy, who is a playmate to his son, has been erroneously picked up. The kidnapper realizes this but still insists that Gondo pay the ransom or have the blood of the chauffeur's child on his head.
Paying the ransom will ruin him financially; not paying it will ruin him as a human being. Gondo's anguish plays against the backdrop of financial intrigue and a more conventional police thriller, as Kurosawa delves into the cops' massive effort to track the kidnapper, led by the sensitive but briskly ruthless Detective Tokura.
High And Low is both a riveting thriller and a brilliant commentary on contemporary Japanese society.
With Akira Kurosawa's death in 1998, the world lost one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Kurosawa was acclaimed as an original and great filmmaker during his lifetime, nationally and internationally. His films received a number of prestigious awards at home and abroad. He had directed 30 feature films.
Please contact Bh S S Prakash Reddy of the Hyderabad Film Club at 2373-0841/93910-20243 for further details.