Part of Modern Cinema

Saturday, October 6, 2018
6:30 p.m.

Phyllis Wattis Theater

This event has come and gone.

Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru, 1952 (still); image: courtesy Janus Films

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 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.” — BAMPFA

Film Details

Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Year: 1952
Running time: 143 min
Format: 35mm
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Screenwriter: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
Producer: Sôjirô Motoki
Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai
Editor: Kôichi Iwashita
Source: Janus

Films and schedules may be subject to change.

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. Generous support is provided by Nion McEvoy and the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund.