With coke-bottle glasses, heavy-makeup, and dad-pants—Mifune looks more like Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond than he does the outlaw/warrior in Rashomon or Seven Samurai. He’s stretching his range playing a man double his age, shaken by paranoia/fear of the atomic bomb (has that trademark expressive Mifune scowl on his face though).
Certainly a viewing double-feature companion piece to 2011’s Take Shelter from Mike Nichols
Frequent and important Kurosawa collaborator Fumio Hayasaka—who scored his films prior to this (including Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai of course) died while completing this and it had to be finished by someone else
Kurosawa’s overall artistic achievement here in the year following up Seven Samurai is far more modest—but there are still some nice, trademark Kurosawa compositions- like the five heads deliberating on this civil case on the same side of the table
Like Ozu, the other all-time great Japanese auteur (most notably in 1953’s Tokyo Story)- this film takes on the discord – the generational gap between families
At 59 minutes the family is sitting around- great foreground/background work.
Shortly after that scene, Mifune is holding his grandchild in the front left of the frame with an entire conversation with a man in the back right of the frame—superb
Another of the mother—she’s in the foreground and the central figure in the frame dividing the two children equally in the background—all in deep focus
A sane man in an insane, selfish world—true to Kurosawa’s themes regardless of genre or whether it’s a historical or contemporary (here) setting
[…] Ikimono no kiroku – Kurosawa […]