The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

High and Low

Auteur director Akira Kurosawa and superstar Toshiro Mifune delivered a masterpiece with 1963’s High and Low, one of the most celebrated films of the famed filmmaker’s illustrious career.

A wealthy shoe executive named Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) finds himself at odds when faced with a company buyout and a ransom plot that threaten to tear his family apart. Initially believing his son has been kidnapped, it is soon revealed that the child of Gondo’s chauffeur was mistakenly taken. However, the abductor still demands the ransom. Gondo must then grapple with the moral dilemma between self-interest and saving another person’s child, while the police race against time to find the perpetrator.

Featuring tense psychodrama and intense action, High and Low was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Golden Globe. Noteworthy for its collision of contemporary American and Japanese culture, the film represents a watershed moment in Akira Kurosawa’s career for its mixture of thrills and social commentary.

The Frida Cinema is proud to present High and Low as part of our Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month series of films recognizing the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. A portion of ticket proceeds from screenings of High and Low will be donated to Stop AAPI Hate, an initiative launched by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University in response to the alarming escalation of acts of xenophobia and bigotry against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.  Learn more at


“One of the best detective thrillers ever filmed.” — A. O. Scott, New York Times

“High And Low is a fine example of [Kurosawa’s] craft, and further proof that it’s not a few masterpieces but the overall scope of a career that defines a great director.” — Keith Phipps, AV Club

“High and Low illuminates its world with a wholeness and complexity you rarely see in film.” — Paul Attanasio, Washington Post