Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Ikimono No Kiroku
Japan, 1955. Toho Company. Story by Akira Kurosawa, Fumio Hayasaka, Screenplay by Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni. Cinematography by Asakazu Nakai. Produced by Sojiro Motoki. Music by Masaru Sato. Production Design by Yoshiro Muraki. Costume Design by Miyuki Suzuki. Film Editing by Chozo Kobata. Cannes Film Festival 1955.
Toshirô Mifune dons age makeup to play the cantankerous patriarch of a family who own a successful foundry. Mifune lives in terror of the nuclear bomb, afraid of the radiation from the bombs dropped on Japan during World War II and by the capabilities of powers around the world to destroy humanity in a matter of minutes. He has decided that the safest place for him and his family is to move to Brazil, far away from the dangers of radiation, and he begs and pleads with his children to listen to him. They, fearing he is going senile, take him to court to declare him incompetent and have his control of their business and finances taken away. Kurosawa deftly moves between humour and tragedy as he creates a film that captures all the frustrating comedy of family life while at times being very moving; Mifune’s one scene in particular, of imploring his children to heed the dangers of the technology he fears, is very powerful.