I Live in Fear
(Ikimono no koroku)
(Record of a Living Being)
Toshiro Mifune, Eiko Miyoshi, Haruko Togo, Masao Shimizu,
Made shortly after the first H-bomb tests in the Pacific caused renewed fear in Japan of nuclear war, this film has only grown in relevance. It also remains a remarkable testament to the versatility and daring of Mifune, who at the age of thirty-five took on the role of a crusty, eccentric old patriarch, Nakajima, who attempts to sell his small foundry and move to Brazil, out of range of the nuclear holocaust he envisions as imminent. Like King Lear, he watches, outraged, as members of his large family seek to protect their financial interests by having him declared insane. Mifune’s performance is so transformative that “even hardened film buffs fail to recognize him” (Film Forum).