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IKIRU (1952) - Scenes Season

Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani


Inspired by a project by Caroline Jupp to interview local audiences about their personally significant movie scenes, this season is celebrating a selection of these films from the iconic to the obscure.

Ikiru was chosen by Slav, one of Deptford Cinema’s volunteers, for the scene of the protagonist’s wake, where friends and family discuss his life and death.

A Scenes publication will be available to browse and purchase during the Scenes Season from the Deptford Cinema bar.

Takashi Shimura gives an extraordinary performance as Kanji Watanabe, a form-stamping Section Chief at the Public Affairs division in City Hall, adding to towers of paperwork, immersing himself and others in endless paper trails and bureaucratic red tape. Everything changes when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Faced with his imminent death and the failings of his family life and career, he turns to drink in denial. But after meeting the youthful Toyo, he resolves to help a group of women who wish to turn a swampy mosquito-infested waste ground into a park for children to play.

The Japanese word, ikiru, comes from the verb to live, and Kurosawa’s film is a masterly depiction of the complexities of what it means to live a meaningful life. What difference can one life make, in the face of an intransigent and bureaucratic establishment? Can Watanabe find his own understanding of what it means to live?

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  • DIRECTOR: Akira Kurosawa

  • STARRING: Takashi Shimura, Shinichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka, Minoru Chiaki, Miki Odagiri 


  • 1952

  • 136 MINS


  • English Subtitles

Doors 7:30 PM

Film 8:00 PM

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The narrative is carefully paced, the central performance magnificent, the final effect overwhelming in a manner that recalls the great Russian writers Kurosawa admired.
— The Observer
Kurosawa’s depiction of the revelatory last days of an ageing Tokyo salaryman is one of the triumphs of humanist cinema.
— Time Out