The drama Ningen Shikaku tells of a story of an artist who feels alienated from everyone from birth. Though he has everything that anyone could ask for, talent, looks and money, he felt that he shouldn’t be born and searches for his purpose as a human while putting on a mask of jocularity to hide his true face of depression and misery from society. The story is based on Osamu Dazai’s autobiographical novels which is written in a first person point of view through the eyes of Oba Yozo – the story’s protagonist who raises thought provoking questions on how he should fit into the human society which repeatedly rejects him and his way of living.
The movie is a personal statement of an artist or a person waiting for someone to understand him and let him know that it’s alright to be different. It shows how stringent rules of society could suffocate a human enough to think that he has no place in that world and should disappear. The movie candidly paints a picture of Oba Yozo’s life as he struggles through life finding refuge in drugs, alcohol, women and death.
This masterpiece stars Ikuta Toma ( Johnny’s Entertainment) whose performance in this movie has moved me to tears. This is his best work yet. He truly is an actor with true talent beyond just the pretty face. Toma has taken the role of Oba Yozo and made it his own and deeply gave us a person and not only a character we can identify with.
Cinematography wise, the movie was great. It was a beautiful film, artistically done which gives the keen eye a lot of artistic moments to enjoy. It balances all the elements – story, plot and setting beautifully and weaves it so the audience would be awed. It beautifully showed the suffering of a human being and though it did involve themes like suicide, drugs, women and death and could easily be shown rudely, this film made it a point to make these scenes look tasteful yet convincing.
Personally, I could identify with the character of Oba Yozo in the movie. I too have questioned my existence in this society many times. He was a brilliant artist, which his parents never really understood. Because of this, he was cast out of the family and was disinherited and was also treated as the black sheep of the family. The business minded people in his family never saw the genius within Oba and only saw the so called madness he was going through.
What would have happened if Oba was supported by his parents and family? Would he have these kinds of questions? Would he have tried to take his own life? If people really cared enough for him, would he have been sorry to be born? What is a normal human being anyway? What is a human? How could one say that he is a “failed human being”? These are the questions raised and discussed in the movie. It gives you things that you could ask yourself, things that not only applies to that time period but to society in the present.
I want to read the books now that I have seen the movie. I want to see the movie again and revisit Oba’s life. Needless to say, this was an excellent movie. Toma , I bow to you.