I Live In Fear (Ikimono no kiroku)

“The essential moral of this film is akin to that of Ikiru in that it is the opposite: the love of humanity is the only thing worth living for and when this love is rendered powerless then it is indeed a tragedy.”

-Donald Richie

Akira Kurosawa directed this powerful drama about a Japanese factory owner (Toshiro Mifune) who Parker Tyler has called “our century's first truly serious worrier” and who doesn't want to be killed in our time of the H-bomb. His frantic drive to sell everything and leave with his family for Brazil is blocked, and he is declared insane. Made shortly after the first H-bomb testing in the Pacific when radiation caused great damage and fear in Japan.

Throughout the film Kurosawa uses a sun-heat image as a symbol of the impending disaster of a holocaust: the hot summer weather, the fire of the foundry, the shining sun, people perspiring in the streets, etc. At the end, in a mental institution, he finds a kind of peace thinking he has escaped the earth to a safe place. Upon seeing the setting sun he exclaims, “Oh, my god. It is burning. The earth is burning. Burning. At last, finally, it is burning.”

I Live In Fear (Ikimono no kiroku) is repeated on Wednesday, May 16.

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