One of the first efforts by the Japanese to deal with the fear of atomic warfare, this film was masterfully directed by Akira Kurosawa and features a superb performance by Mifune. (The film was released in 1955 in Japan.) Mifune plays an elderly foundry owner whose fear obsesses him. He
declares his intention to move his family to Brazil. His children balk at the suggestion, fearing financial ruin, and Mifune's stubborn determination to go ahead with the move forces them to call upon the Family Court to declare him mentally incompetent. Though condemned as mentally unstable,
Mifune refuses to give up his quest. He concludes that, if his children are ruined financially, they will join him in the move to Brazil, so he burns down his foundry and puts all his employees out of work in the process. Realizing his error, Mifune nonetheless pleads with his workers to join him
in his quest for safety. Fearing that he may do even greater damage to himself or others, the Family Court is forced to have Mifune committed to an asylum. Shimura, a Family Court worker who has grown more concerned about the problems of radiation during the case, visits Mifune at the asylum and
finds him content. The old industrialist believes he is on another planet; he stares at the sun, thinking that it is the Earth engulfed in a nuclear holocaust, vindicating his prediction.
Visually, the film is striking. Heat and its effects are in every scene, from the sweaty backs of the attorneys in the courtroom to the blazing sun that closes the film. Throughout the film people are seen fanning themselves. In the face of this, we begin to wonder by the end just who is really
insane. I LIVE IN FEAR holds a special place in the heart of Kurosawa, as his close friend and masterful music composer Fumio Hayasaka (who also did the music for RASHOMON and THE SEVEN SAMURAI) died of tuberculosis during the production, an event that shattered the director and sapped his
energies during the final months of the production.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: One of the first efforts by the Japanese to deal with the fear of atomic warfare, this film was masterfully directed by Akira Kurosawa and features a superb performance by Mifune. (The film was released in 1955 in Japan.) Mifune plays an elderly foundry ow… (more)