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Personal Transformations Through an Encounter with Death: A Study of Akira Kurosawa’s film Ikiru Workshop with extended film clips of Ikiru, reflective exercises, and discussion. Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru (the intransitive verb “to live” in Japanese) presents the audience with a seeming paradox: A heightened awareness of one’s mortality can lead to living a more authentic and meaningful life. While progressively confronting the four existential issues of death, meaninglessness, isolation, and freedom, as described in Irvin Yalom’s Existential Psychotherapy, our hero, an elderly bureaucrat named Watanabe, traces the path of the Hero’s Journey as described by the mythologist Joseph Campbell among others. He is aided by a young woman helper named Toyo, who embodies the anima. Simultaneous to this outward arc, Watanabe experiences an inward arc of transformation of consciousness taking him from the individual persona to the transpersonal. Akira Kurosawa has constructed a film that allows the audience to empathize with what our hero experiences: What at first appears to be sheer tragedy—death—becomes transformed into the serene acceptance of the transience of life through the compassionate, contemplative love of the now. Kurosawa skillfully blends aesthetic concepts and sensibilities both Western (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Goethe’s Faust) and Eastern (Noh, Zen Buddhist) to create one of the greatest of cinematic masterworks. THE SOCIETY STRONGLY RECOMMENDS PARTICIPANTS WATCH IKIRU BEFORE THIS EVENT. It is available for rent on Amazon, YouTube Movies, and elsewhere. Registration price: Friends – $17; Others – $20; Full time students – $2 2 CEs – $15* *Note: If you are a friend of the Society, you must be logged into your account prior to purchase to receive your discount.* During this workshop, participants will: • Identify four existential issues of death, meaninglessness, isolation, and freedom in patients as seen in the hero of this film. • Be better equipped to
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