Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

aka - Ikimono No Kiroku
Japan 1955
Directed by
Akira Kurosawa
103 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

I Live In Fear: Record Of A Living Being

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 (Toshirô  Mifune) a Tokyo foundry-owner who believes that post-war 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 with the help of some heavy make-up he brings it off well enough, his body bowed and face set in a permanent growl behind thick spectacles which make him virtually unrecognisable. 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.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst