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I Live In Fear: Record of A Living Beingaka - Ikimono No Kiroku
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Running time 103 minutes
Although not entirely living up to its extraordinary title with its promise of existential angst, this is an interesting film dealing with the kind of concerns that resurfaced in Kurosawa's final film, Dreams (1990) - apocalyptic destruction.
Here it is given a more individual form in the story of Kiichi Nakajima (Toshiro Mifune) a Tokyo foundry-owner who believes that Japan will be destroyed by an atomic bomb and wants to move to Brazil, taking his whole family with him. The latter take him to family court to have him deemed mentally incompetent. This set-up gives Kurosawa the opportunity to explore Japan's post-Hiroshima psyche. Kurosawa regular, Takashi Shimura, as a family court mediator acts as the film's moral interlocuter, intersecting at various points with Nakajima in order to reveal his sad history.
A 35 year-old Mifune is unusually cast as an elderly man but he brings it off well, with none of his trademark head-scratching and face pulling. His character in many ways represents "Old Japan" and in Kurosawa's hands his fear is less about the A-bomb in itself but rather about losing the world with which he is familiar, one to which his self-interested progeny seem complacently indifferent.
DVD Extras: Stills gallery and original theatrical poster artwork.
Available from: Madman