1. Scandal (1950). In which a painter played by Toshiro Mifune delivers a Christmas tree to a TB-ridden child as her lawyer father scams him in a slander lawsuit against a gossip rag. And if you thought It's a Wonderful Life took "Auld Lang Syne" as far as it can go, check out the bar sing along here.
2. Red Beard (1965). Well-regarded, but not as outrightly canonical as some of Kurosawa's greatest hits. One of the best doctor flicks, though.
3. The Idiot (1951). Yes, that idiot—the Dostoevsky one. It's a long, jumbly picture, besieged by studio interference, but if you can get past all of the gaps, there's emotional jolts aplenty.
4. One Wonderful Sunday (1947). A mix of Capra and Renoir in which you can imagine French New Wavers like Godard and Truffaut getting fired up by all of the modern, postwar twists on young love.
5. I Live In Fear (1955). Mifune as a patriarch so terrified by the specter of the H-bomb that he wants to relocate his sprawling family—mistresses included—to Brazil. The sun has an interesting dual role in the end.
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