When you watch classic films shot in Japan's Showa era like Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low", you are surprised by the swift and vivid movements of the actors.
The actions are full of energy, with surprising twists, and accompanied by the very strong feeling of something living here and now.
Although the gist of the impressions is surely due to the mastery of the great director, I think it has a lot to do with the Zeitgeist, too. The film was released in 1963. At that time, 17 years after the end of second world war, Japanese economy was rapidly growing, rather like today's China. People were naturally highly motivated, with a belief that tomorrow will bring something exciting, something unprecedented. Such a mindset shows in the movements.
Civilization, when it develops, envelops the human beings with lots of protections. We become "vetted", and lose our wilderness. With the advent of the internet, we are all in a danger of constant vetting, and that is reflected in our daily movements.
To watch a film like "High and Low" is tantamount to having a glimpse into the time in which we were rather like "wild animals", roaming in the world at large, driven by our own instincts, oblivious of the glass ceiling of civilization which actually exists in any given era.
Cover of Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" DVD.