I Live in Fear

A businessman faces the hostility of his family when he moves them from Tokyo to Brazil to escape the nuclear holocaust he fears is imminent.

When a wealthy foundry owner decides to move his entire family from Tokyo to Brazil to escape the nuclear holocaust which he fears is imminent, his family, afraid of losing their status and inheritance, tries to have him declared mentally incompetent.

Made at the height of the Cold War, with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still a recent memory, and with the USA, Britain and the Soviet Union all competing in nuclear tests, this blazing attack on complacency stemmed from the same H-Bomb paranoia that gave birth to the Godzilla films.

Kurosawa regular Toshiro Mifune delivers an extraordinary performance as Kiichi, a man twice his age, as does Takashi Shimura, who two years before had starred as the cancer-stricken clerk in Ikiru.

I Live in Fear, though one of Kurosawa’s least commercially successful films, was the one he expressed himself proudest of having made:

“The turn-out for this film was very bad, few people came, and it was my biggest box office failure. After having put so much of myself into this film, after having seriously treated a serious theme, this lack of interest disappointed me. When I think of it, however, I see now that we made the film too soon. At that time no one was thinking seriously of atomic extinction. It was only later that people got frightened, and that a number of films on the subject appeared, among them On the Beach.”

Special features

  • Sleeve notes by film historian Philip Kemp.

Product information

    • Certificate

      PG

    • Colour

      Black/white

    • Sound

      Sound

    • Running time

      99mins

    • Languages

      Japanese

    • Subtitles

      English

    • Original aspect ratio

      1.66:1

    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

    • Catalogue number

      BFIVD639

Buying options

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