I saw Akira Kurosawa’s medical drama Red Beard in a theater today and it owned. Red Beard himself, played by Toshirô Mifune, is one of my new favorite characters in cinema. He’s a gruff but charismatic, extremely class-conscious, super-talented doctor who maintains a free clinic for the poor, correctly identifies poverty as a major cause of physical and mental illness, occasionally uses rich patients as sources of funding but in the process totally fucks with and humiliates them, and if threatened is willing to judo fight his aggressors and then treat them for the injuries he inflicts. And he looks just like @shrug’s friend Tony.
Overall the movie has a very refreshing empathy to it, and it depicts issues of pain, death, and especially trauma extremely well. It has an inexplicably long backstory sequence for a total side character that kind of drags, but this IS Kurosawa we’re talking about, and that bit is mostly justified by the way it changes the main character’s point of view on the dignity of his peasant patients.
I kind of wish Kurosawa had made a sequel where Red Beard went on to become a full on Che Guevara figure, cuz I saw some interesting parallels between the two.