Made in the '50s, with the Cold War at its height and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still raw recent memories, Akira Kurosawa's I Live In Fear reflects his countrymen's mood of helpless terror in the face of what seemed like inevitable nuclear war. His protagonist - played by 35-year-old Toshiro Mifune - is a 70-year-old industrialist, is resolved to take action and dragging his whole family along with him.
Set in a sun-scorched Tokyo, the film throws up images of intolerable heat, reflecting the sizzling emotions that torment the old man. But Kurosawa also indicts the patriarchal despotism that long bedevilled Japanese society. When Mifune's family and work force dare to question his authority, it overturns his sanity.
I Live In Fear lacks the sweep and verve of Kurosawa's samurai masterpieces, but it remains one of his most deeply-felt films.