IMDb > Ikiru (1952)
Ikiru
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Ikiru (1952) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
8.4/10   32,201 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Akira Kurosawa (written by) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Ikiru on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 March 1956 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(60 articles)
User Reviews:
a cinematic experience that's a near-nexus of existentialism- life, living, dying, death, and can be done while alive- remarkable See more (143 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Takashi Shimura ... Kanji Watanabe
Shin'ichi Himori ... Kimura
Haruo Tanaka ... Sakai
Minoru Chiaki ... Noguchi
Miki Odagiri ... Toyo Odagiri, employee
Bokuzen Hidari ... Ohara
Minosuke Yamada ... Subordinate Clerk Saito
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Sub-Section Chief Ono
Makoto Kobori ... Kiichi Watanabe, Kanji's Brother
Nobuo Kaneko ... Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son
Nobuo Nakamura ... Deputy Mayor
Atsushi Watanabe ... Patient
Isao Kimura ... Intern
Masao Shimizu ... Doctor
Yûnosuke Itô ... Novelist
Kumeko Urabe ... Tatsu Watanabe, Kiichi's Wife
Eiko Miyoshi ... Housewife
Noriko Honma ... Housewife
Yatsuko Tan'ami ... Bar Hostess
Kin Sugai ... Housewife
Yoshie Minami ... The Maid
Kyôko Seki ... Kazue Watanabe, Mitsuo's wife
Kusuo Abe ... City Assemblyman
Tomo'o Nagai ... Newspaperman
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Yakuza Boss
Daisuke Katô ... Yakuza
Hiroshi Hayashi ... Second Yakuza
Fuyuki Murakami ... Newspaperman
Hirayoshi Aono ... Newspaperman
Toranosuke Ogawa ... Park Section Chief
Taizô Fukami
Katao Kawasaki
Keiichirô Katsumoto
Fujio Nagahama
Akira Sera ... Worker in General Affairs
Ichirô Chiba ... Policeman
Akira Tani ... Bar Owner
Yôyô Kojima ... Worker in Sewage Section
Haruko Toyama
Mie Asô
Toshiyuki Ichimura ... Pianist
Harue Kuramoto ... Dancer
Rasa Saya ... Stripper
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Junpei Natsuki ... Hand-Washing Cancer Patient (uncredited)
Sachio Sakai ... Yakuza (uncredited)

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
 
Writing credits
Akira Kurosawa (written by) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (written by) &
Hideo Oguni (written by)

Produced by
Sôjirô Motoki .... producer
 
Original Music by
Fumio Hayasaka 
 
Cinematography by
Asakazu Nakai 
 
Film Editing by
Kôichi Iwashita 
 
Production Design by
Takashi Matsuyama 
 
Makeup Department
Sadako Okada .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Teruo Maki .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Teruo Maru .... assistant director
Hisanobu Marubayashi .... chief assistant director
 
Art Department
Yoshirô Muraki .... assistant art director
 
Sound Department
Ichirô Minawa .... sound effects editor
Fumio Yanoguchi .... sound recordist
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Shigeru Mori .... lighting technician
Takao Saitô .... assistant camera
Masao Soeda .... still photographer
 
Other crew
Akira Araki .... accountant
Hiromichi Horikawa .... advisor to the director
Teruyo Nogami .... script supervisor
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Living" - International (English title) (informal English title)
"To Live" - International (English title) (informal English title)
See more »
Runtime:
143 min | Sweden:123 min (cut version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Finland:S | Germany:16 | Singapore:PG | Sweden:11 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1994) | USA:Not Rated
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
When Takashi Shimura rehearsed his singing of "Song of the Gondola," director Akira Kurosawa instructed him to "sing the song as if you are a stranger in a world where nobody believes you exist."See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the last scene with Toyo (in the restaurant with the birthday party going on), the position of the bell on the mechanical bunny changes, even though neither actor has touched the bunny.See more »
Quotes:
Toyo:What help am I?
Kanji:You - just to look at you makes me feel better. It warms this - this mummy's heart of mine. And you're so kind to me. No; that's not it. You're so young, so healthy. No; that's not it either... You're so full of life. And me... I'm jealous of that. If I could be like you for just one day before I died. I won't be able to die unless I can do that. I want to do *something*. Only you can show me. I don't know what to do. I don't know how. Maybe you don't know either, but, please...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in American Beauty (1999)See more »
Soundtrack:
Gondora no utaSee more »

FAQ

What Are The English Lyrics To The Song Kanji Watanabe Sings? (+More Info.)
See more »
57 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
a cinematic experience that's a near-nexus of existentialism- life, living, dying, death, and can be done while alive- remarkable, 19 May 2004
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Akira Kurosawa knew how to get in touch with human nature through his art. With his visual expressiveness and storytelling, he could pierce through his subjects, even in his big and occasionally comical samurai films, and find the elemental things do work. What he probably learned off of Rashomon probably helped out with Ikiru (To Live), a story of an old man who finds out he will die within a year, as both stories deal with perceptions of the significance of a life spent and a life wasted. Though that was to a different degree in Rashomon, with Ikiru Kurosawa expands into full-on existentialism.

The old man Kanji Watanabe (in a wholly believable and often heart-breaking performance by Takashi Shimura) knows his life hasn't amounted to much as a (chief) clerk for the city. He knows he hasn't had a great kinship with his son. He's accepting his fate with a heavy soul. One of the tenets of existentialism is that there's free-will, and the responsibility to accept what is done with one's life. Kurosawa might've (as I speculate, I don't entirely know) caught onto this for his lead, and it works, especially with the little details.

Such little details, unforgettable ones, have been expounded upon by other reviewers and critics, such as the drunken, sullen singing of "Life is short, fall in love my maiden" in the bar. A scene like that almost speaks for itself and yet it's also subtle. But one scene that had me was one not too many talk about. It's when Watanabe is in the Deputy Mayor's office, asking for permission so that a park can be built. At first the Mayor ignores him, but then Watanabe begs, but not in a way that manipulates the audience for sympathy with the old man. The mayor must be sensing something in his eyes, desperate and weak, however determined, and it's something that probably most of the audience can identify with as well, even if they don't entirely identify with the character.

But aside from the emotional impact Ikiru can have on a viewer, composition-wise (with the help of Asakazu Nakai, wonderful cinematographer on less than a dozen Kurosawa films) and editing-wise the film is ahead of its time and another example of Kurosawa's intuitive eye. There are some to-tomy shots sometimes (which could be called typical via master Ozu or other), but everything appears so precise on a first viewing, so descriptive. I think I almost can't go into all of them without a repeat viewing, but there were two that are still fresh in me. The first was right as Watanabe was about to sing in the bar, and there were these bead-strings looming in front of the camera. Perhaps mysterious, but definitely evocative.

The other was when Watanabe and one of the other clerks are on a bridge during a dark part of the day. Both characters are in silhouette, and Watanabe gives an indication to the character that he will die soon. But for me, I wasn't even paying a terrible amount of attention to the words. The way the two are lit as they are, with the light in the background and darkness in the foreground, it could maybe give an indication of what Kurosawa's trying to say: we're all not in the light of life, but it doesn't have to be an entire down-ward spiral if the will is good. Whether you're into philosophy (ies) or not, Ikiru won't disappoint newcomers to Kurosawa via his action pictures. A+

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