• Featured_exhib_film_kurosawa_ikiru




Sunday Oct 15 04:00 PM
Sunday Oct 15 07:00 PM


Doris Duke Theatre


Museum members: $10.00
General Admission: $12.00


About the Film:

Part of Akira Kurosawa Retrospective

Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Japan. 1952. Japanese with English subtitles. 143 min.
Middle-aged bureaucrat Kanji Watanabe (Takashi Shimura) seeks to escape the monotony of his life after a terminal cancer prognosis shakes him into an awareness of his own mortality. Kurosawa’s exploration of life in the face of death makes Ikiru one of his most earnestly humanistic films. Kanji initially wanders Tokyo’s nightlife, searching for pleasure. But he soon meets someone who inspires him to find fulfillment from within. Returning to work one day, Kanji decides to leverage his position as a senior official to accomplish something only he can.

Kurosawa contrasts Kanji’s individualistic fighting spirit with the unfeeling machinery of state bureaucracy that served as an ordering force in the void of postwar Japan. He also extends his critique to the machinations of family life in depicting the selfishness of Kanji’s son and daughter-in-law, who seem only to eye his pension. Whereas they live in wait of a future for themselves alone, Kanji works urgently to provide something for future generations he knows he won’t be able to enjoy. The film’s ultimate denouement reflects the challenge Kanji faces throughout the film onto the audience—that of living our lives while we still have them.

Special guest: Join us for an introduction by Andre Haag, Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 

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