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A big story of a little man, which will grip your soul… 

Year: 1952 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 (Academy) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Akira Kurosawa 
Starring: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori  
An image from Ikiru

Buy Tickets on the SU Website:
19:30 Tuesday 24th October 2023


Director Akira Kurosawa is rightly revered as one of film history’s most influential creators. Known particularly for action-packed samurai epics with some of Japan’s biggest stars, he was often viewed in his home country as a more Western director for these genre mash-ups; seen today, their scrappy outsider protagonists and distinctive wipe edits make sense when considering George Lucas’ admiration for the great man. And yet, Kurosawa had more strings to his bow, with a range that is best encapsulated in this heartbreaking drama from 1952. Ikiru means ‘to live’ - that title became Living for the surprisingly magical English-language remake with Bill Nighy - and its story retains that simple existential clarity. Kurosawa’s regular leading man Takashi Shimura is Watanabe, a bored bureaucrat who has worked drudgingly in the same Tokyo office for 30 years. Suddenly, a terminal diagnosis arrives out of the blue; like It’s a Wonderful Life without the divine intervention, the arrival of death grants Watanabe a new perspective on the potential we all have to do good. With its complex understanding of human desires, Ikiru has lost none of its power to move and jerk tears over 70 years – a rare treat not to be missed on the big screen

Max King

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Screenings of this film:

2023/2024 Autumn Term (35mm)