Bill Nighy received Academy Award, BAFTA and SAG nominations for his starring role in “Living.” (Sony Pictures Classics)

“Living,” directed by Oliver Hermanus and distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, is a reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film “Ikiru.”

Written by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro (“The Remains of the Day,” “The Unconsoled,” “Never Let Me Go”), “Living” stars BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy (“Love Actually,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Minamata”). They received Academy Award nominations for best adapted screenplay and best lead actor, respectively.

At the BAFTAs, “Living” was nominated for best British film, best lead actor and best adapted screenplay. Nighy also received a SAG award nomination.

“Living,” which had its world premiere last year at the Sundance Film Festival, is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful – into one he can say has been lived to the full.

Kazuo Ishiguro received the Nobel Prize for literature in 2017. (Kyodo)

In 1953, a London shattered by World War II is still recovering. Rodney Williams (Nighy), a veteran civil servant, is an impotent cog within the city’s bureaucracy as it struggles to rebuild. Buried under paperwork at the office, lonely at home, his life has long felt empty and meaningless. Then a shattering medical diagnosis forces him to take stock – and to try and grasp fulfilment before it goes beyond reach.

In Kurosawa’s film, Takashi Shimura played Kanji Watanabe, a bureaucrat who makes a last-ditch effort to build a playground in his local neighborhood. Ishiguro, who was born in Nagasaki, saw “Ikiru” as a schoolboy in England.

“What was very important to me was this study of the English gentleman,” Ishiguro told Kyodo News. “A certain type of Englishness becomes a universal metaphor for something that is inside all human beings.

“The need to conform, perhaps a fear of emotions, the frustration of wanting to express yourself but not being able to break out of your professional role, or the role that society has given you. There were many things I thought we could talk about of the whole human condition by looking at this type of figure.”

Recalling the businessmen that he saw on the trains in London, Ishiguro summed up both “Ikiru” and “Living”: “Even if you had a small life with lots of limits, with thought and a big effort, you could make that life wonderful. It could be living to the full. I found this a very liberating message.”

Takashi Shimura (left) starred in Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece “Ikiru.”

The cast includes Aimee Lou Wood (“Sex Education”), Tony Award winner Alex Sharp (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) and Tom Burke (“The Souvenir”). The film is produced by BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Stephen Woolley (“The Crying Game”) and BAFTA winner Elizabeth Karlsen (“Carol”) of Number 9 Films, who also produced Sony Pictures Classics’ drama “Mothering Sunday.” Executive producers are Kurosawa Productions.

The film features costume design by 15-time Academy Award nominee and three-time winner Sandy Powell (“Shakespeare in Love,” “Carol”), hair and makeup design by BAFTA winner Nadia Stacey (“The Favourite”), cinematography by BIFA nominee Jamie Ramsay, and production design by BAFTA TV Craft winner Helen Scott. All four also worked on “Mothering Sunday.”

Sony Pictures Classics said, “From the dazzling screenplay by Ishiguro, to the visual storytelling by Oliver Hermanus, to the spectacular performances led by Bill Nighy, to the evocative score and the perfection of the movie‘s design and costumes, ‘Living’ is that overwhelming, emotional movie audiences are hungering for in their return to theaters.”

Woolley stated, “‘Living’ has been a work inspired by the passion of Kurosawa and built on by the equally passionate and sublimely talented Ishiguro, Bill Nighy and Oliver Hermanus. The team at Sony Pictures Classics have demonstrated for decades (with a track record of great movies that is unrivaled) that passion is the vital ingredient in not only making and creating vibrant movies but also releasing those films to audiences in North America and globally.

“Elizabeth and I as the producers of ‘Living’ are honored to be in their company again and we are excited to share this glorious film in cinemas, where it rightly belongs, to inspire audiences … to embrace living.”

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