High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
I Live in Fear
Kiichi Nakajima (Toshirō Mifune), an elderly foundry owner convinced that Japan will be affected by an imminent nuclear war, resolves to move his family to safety in Brazil. His family decides to have him ruled incompetent and Dr. Harada (Takashi Shimura), a Domestic Court counselor, attempts to arbitrate.
Even worry has to be done in moderation.
The 8th film featuring Toshirō Mifune and Takashi Shimura under the direction of Akira Kurosawa. They would make 7 more together and even several others with different pairings of only two of the three. I Live in Fear gets overshadowed by those films for the simple fact that these three didn't make one masterpiece together, but several. Make no mistake though, this is still a great film, it's just a very specific time in Japan's public consciousness, one that isn't exactly much discussed in North America so the international appeal might not be there.
The film revolves around Kiichi Nakajima, brilliantly portrayed by an almost unrecognizable Toshirō Mifune, a man that…
Typically, Cold War fiction focuses on the paranoia, the tension, and the spy game between the US and USSR, and any mentions of other countries tend to come in the shadow of those two. While the US certainly had influence on Japan, and its proximity to the USSR certainly made it a part of the conflict, Kurosawa frames this film without much emphasis on the broader picture of world politics. This is a story about a man and his family, and his reaction to the ever-present threat of nuclear war. What might be considered irrational in a different nation has a deep poignancy in Japan to the viewer's perception, especially considering how the man's family treats him.
Perhaps because this…
This isn't a Kurosawa film that gets a mention very often. It says so much about post-war Japan; communicates the values in this society. There is added value. Kurosawa is a man whose vision is expressed in so many movies that communicate directly with Western audiences about Japanese history and culture. His samurai classics are as easy to relate to our times as a Shakespearean story. Both are separated from us by a great chasm of time; which attenuates the signal and reduces the misunderstandings of culture. 500 years is a much vaster distance than 5,000 miles (discuss). So Kurosawa provides his own Rosetta stone, and the Yojimbo story speaks as directly to us as the Robin Hood legend does.…
An elderly patriach and business owner has become gripped with fear that Japan will be the target of further nuclear attacks. He plans to move his entire extended family to Brazil for safety but the family take him to domestic court in an attempt to have him certified as non compos mentis so they can remain in Japan and carry on their normal lives.
The first thing that struck me about the film was Toshiro Mifune's amazing turn as the elderly Kiichi Nakajima. He is pretty much unrecognizable from a cursory glance at the cover and publicity pictures so I started watching the film (as part of BFI's Classic Kurosawa set) without knowing he was in it! Mifune bends his…
A lower tier Kurosawa all the way, but buoyed by an interesting cross-section of Kurosawa preoccupations that pays off well enough in the end. Not quite the undersung gem I had been hoping for, deservedly lost in the shuffle of surrounding mid 50s classics, but solid and far from his worst. Includes an interestingly mixed performance from Mifune, who disappears into character despite giving one of his more rudimentary "I'm angry" performances.
It's Kurosawa week in the Letterboxd Season Challenge. For those unfamiliar with Kurosawa's work you're almost inevitably in for a treat regardless of which of his films you opt for. Whether it's the episodic brilliance of Red Beard, the Star Wars inspiring Hidden Fortress, the Sergio Leone inspiring Yojimbo, the quiet reflective Ikiru, the epic Ran or one of Kurosawa's classics like Rashomon or Seven Samurai, you can't really go wrong. I've seen a lot of Kurosawa movies (including Drunken Angel, Scandal and the Bad Sleep Well) so my options were somewhat limited. One that's been on my watchlist for ages is I Live in Fear.
It's Kurosawa's more grounded approach to post war Japanese atomic bomb paranoia. The other…
A great film with great political tones and great performances, especially the final shot. The first 40 minutes were boring, I will admit, but I enjoyed it.
The brilliance here is not only on the expert psychological study of its character, perfectly portraying the human state of intense paranoia and fear, but also in the way that Kurosawa builds the pure and human side of its characters and the complex family relationship with a strong dramatic charge in the midst of tragic situations of life where it is almost impossible not to identify with. And yet containing an absolutely superb performance from Toshiro Mifune!
Released between Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood, I Live in Fear has become one of Kurosawa's more forgotten features. After viewing it, I can see why. It stretches its concept pretty thin, and there's unfortunately not much that's memorable about it. That said, there's still a lot to like. Toshiro Mifune's central performance as an old man descending into madness is pretty impressive for the then-35-year-old actor, and that final shot is up there with Kurosawa's best. It offers an intriguing (and very Japanese) experience of nuclear war, if only it weren't so drawn out. As it is, there's just something missing.
While not anywhere near Kurosawa's best, I can see why he was so proud of it. I Live in Fear is one of the first Japanese films to really tackle the emotional fallout from the bombing of Hiroshima. As such, it's tone is rather odd from the beginning, and putting Toshirô Mifune in old age makeup to play the cantankerous lead only furthers that tone.
That aforementioned performance by Mifune is easily the highlight of the movie. He's incredible as this almost comically paranoid industrialist, and I'd be willing to bet the average Joe would 100% believe you if you told them it was actually a man in his 70s, instead of the then-35 Mifune.
My only real qualm is…
My fourth watch of Kurosawa.
The film is about the owner of a Foundry, who is very paranoid about the dangers of Atomic and Hydrogen bombs. He wants his family, as well as the factory he owns, to move to a farm in Brazil. No one wants to go with him, though, and much of the film is about the court cases, and the growing fear he experiences.
This is a very odd film from Kurosawa, and beside it being rather overly dramatic and having some good performances from most people involved, I am simply not sure about what to say about it.
I'll give it four out of five stars, albeit it's a rather hard film to talk about, it has many great moments.
It is the time's discipline to think
of the death of all living, and yet live.
The creeping dread of dementia or the unwillingness to listen by those set to gain the most from your fall, another slice of greatness from the greatest of them all.
Near perfect, but I have come to expect nothing less.
This has an intriguing premise and Toshiro Mifune as a 70-year-old but it doesn’t rank with the best of Kurosawa’s films.
Nobody does sweaty desperation like Kurosawa. As for Mifune, his performance reads as big, but there is an honest, justifiable fear behind it that is more nuanced than almost any other actor ever.
UPDATED: June 23, 2016
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