Clerks -- Japan -- Drama, Terminally ill -- Japan -- Drama


(To Live)

BAMPFA Collection


Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Miki Odagiri, Yunosuke Ito,

Ikiru is a searing portrait of modern society in which individual will is the vassal to an impotent bureaucracy. It tells of a municipal government functionary, Mr. Watanabe (the marvelous actor Takashi Shimura), who wraps red tape around the most urgent entreaty: a mother’s plea for a park where a cesspool now exists. Watanabe is looking at his watch when we meet him, a habitual gesture that gains new meaning when he learns he has terminal cancer. Watanabe’s metamorphosis from Mummy (his office nickname) to conscious being is one of the great transformations in cinema, with no special effects required. As he begins to reject his past, into his life comes a curious novelist, a sort of kinder, gentler Mephistopheles who shows Watanabe a night on the town, dazzling in its possibilities, but also gleaming in mirrored reflections. Ikiru is a cinematic tour-de-force that travels in and out of timeframes like a camera of the mind.

Judy Bloch
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Hideo Oguni
  • Asakazu Nakai
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 143 mins
  • Janus Films

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Ikiru (To live) documents  

The mourning after (review), Village Voice, Michael Atkinson, 2003

Ikiru (To live) (program note), Toronto International Film Festival, Margarethe von Trotta, 2003

Akira Kurosawa (article), American Film, Gerald Peary, 1989

Ikiru (program note), Tokyo International Film Festival, 1987

Akira Kurosawa to present 'Ikiru' (press release), Pacific Film Archive, 1978

The films of Akira Kurosawa (press release), Pacific Film Archive, 1974

The art film: Kurosawa's Ikiru (program), Art Film Publications, Derek Hill, 1961

Ikiru (review), Monthly Film Bulletin, J.G., 1959

Ikaru (review), Variety, Gene Moskowitz, 1957

Kurosawa's Kumonosu-djo (distributor materials), Toho Kabushiki Kaisha

Displaying 10 of 16 publicly available documents.

View all Ikiru (To live) documentation on CineFiles.