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Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Japan 1949 122 mins.

Kurosawa’s neorealist, post-war tale of urban malaise follows homicide detective Murakami (Kurosawa regular Toshiro Mifune) during a sweltering heat wave in which he has his gun stolen on a crowded bus. Riddled with shame and guilt, Murakami sets out on an odyssey to recover the weapon, encountering a wide array of unique individuals as he journeys through the bombed-out depths of a nearly unrecognizable Tokyo. Kurosawa, just a year before his masterpiece Rashomon, provides an acute study of the pathos that arises when one’s back is against the wall in all possible ways. “It’s in its suggestion, through a multiplicity of rhythms, textures, and moods, of the range of human possibilities and of multiple worlds that ignore each other, that Stray Dog is most fervent and haunting.”—Chris Fujiwara.