|7:35 p.m.||I Live in Fear|
Akira Kurosawa (Japan, 1955)
(Ikimono no kiroku, a.k.a. Record of a Living Being). 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 Toshiro 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. Kurosawa infuses the film with sun and heat imagery. In the end, the life-giving sun comes to represent only a fiery holocaust, as seen by Nakajima, who recognizes that greed and inhumanity will mark the ultimate moments of humankind.
• Written by Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni. Photographed by Asakazu Nakai. With Toshiro Mifune, Eiko Miyoshi, Haruko Togo, Masao Shimizu. (100 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Janus/Criterion Collection)