Kazuo Ishiguro-scripted remake of Kurosawa film shown at Venice film fest

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kazuo Ishiguro talks about the film “Living,” for which he wrote the screenplay, at a press conference at the Venice International Film Festival on Thursday.

VENICE — A remake of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film “Ikiru” with a screenplay by the Japanese-born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro was screened at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on Thursday.

Ishiguro, 67, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017, said at a press conference that he likes Kurosawa’s films and wondered how the story of “Ikiru” might unfold in a different country.

“Ikiru,” released in 1952, is the story of a city hall bureaucrat who is diagnosed with stomach cancer and given little time to live. He looks back at how he has lived in the past and devotes his remaining life to building a small park. It is a masterpiece that criticizes the bureaucratic mentality and celebrates humanism.

The British remake, “Living,” takes place in post-World War II London, with British actor Bill Nighy, 72, playing the main character. Directed by Oliver Hermanus, 39, the film is in a category that is not eligible for the Golden Lion, the festival’s highest award.

In a Yomiuri Shimbun interview in June 2015, Ishiguro said that his novel “The Buried Giant” was influenced by Kurosawa’s work.

The change in the way people view their work during the coronavirus pandemic inspired Ishiguro to write the screenplay for the film.

“I think particularly the pandemic has made people stop and consider the relationship between what they do and what their life should really be about,” he said at the press conference. “I’m hoping that this is a film that will speak to particularly the younger generation.”

“Living” is scheduled for release in Japan next spring.