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Kurosawa's High and Low is a film that exemplifies Japans criminalistic society and the nature of the people that live within it. Kingo Gondo, the protagoinst, is a wealthy man who is part owner of a prominent shoe company. Gondo is considered high class, as seen with his large mansion on the hill that overlooks the common folk of the town. He has a variety of people who wait on him, and is always dressed in fashionable suits. When his chaffaeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom, Gondo is faeed with a difficult decision. The money the kidnapper demands would leave Gondo penniless. However, not acceding to the kidnappers demands would live him with a guilty over the loss of his loyal chaffeur's son . Through this journey of locating the kidnapper and eventually the ransom money, the everyday tribulations of life in the city are vividly portrayed. The distinction between that city life and Gondo's affluent lifestyle are stricking. The kidnappers trek through the impoverished city reveals to the viewer a sense of the desperate and destitute lives of it's residents. The dimly light streets are inundated with drugs and prostitutes. The depiction of drugs in "High and Low" is intertwined with the poverty and hopelessness of its citizens.

Gondo's dominnering demeanor reflects his wealth and power. The subsrvient chaffeur appears too intimidated to intitally ask Gondo to pay the ransom, vividily demonstrating the class distinctions between them. "High and Low" depicts how a person's reputation and the perception of others can dramatically shift as a result of events. An upper class status based on power and wealth becomes one of respect and honor even though the wealth is absent. Notwithstanding broad class distinctions, unanticipated events result in those distinctions being set aside to overcome shared adversity.



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