Part of Animation Appreciation Week


A deeply strange message from the future is what this movie is here to (re)deliver: both post- and pre-apocalyptic, a nuclear-age parable of anxiety to compare with Godzilla. Akira, released in 1988, is the cult Japanese cyberpunk animation from director Katsuhiro Ôtomo, who also created the original manga serial. (It is set in the impossibly futuristic year of 2019, so maybe last year would actually have been the time to rerelease it.)

Thirty years on from a devastating explosion that razed the city, a new capital – Neo-Tokyo – has been born: sprawling, chaotic, like the LA of Blade Runner. The city is beset with violence from warring motorbike gangs, and by protesters rioting against unfair taxes. A hatchet-faced army officer says that Neo-Tokyo is "a garbage heap made of hedonistic fools".

Biker teen Kaneda (voiced by Mitsuo Iwata) is in the middle of a confrontation with a rival mob, when his friend Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) accidentally crashes into a bizarrely wizened child-goblin figure who has apparently escaped from a top-secret government research facility investigating this race of troll-infants with bizarre powers.

Tetsuo finds that he himself now has staggering telekinetic abilities, and becomes public enemy number one for these sinister G-men. He assumes superhuman qualities, evolving into a new entity, a virtual messianic figure for this occult race of uniquely gifted or cursed lab rats. It is Tetsuo's destiny to discover the truth about Akira, a much-rumoured godhead or wellspring of essential cosmic power that is to be found somewhere underneath the city: it may have been responsible for the explosion 30 years ago.

And so the final 30 minutes of the film build to a nightmare of utter destruction – longed-for destruction, in fact, an annihilation that will wipe out this culpable, wretched world. Akira's strangeness is very startling and sometimes bewildering. But there is a thanatonic rapture to its vision of a whole world ending and being reborn as something else.

— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


Thu April 27, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

Japan, 1988, in Japanese, 124 min, 35mm

Screenplay: Katsuhiro Otomo, Director: Katsuhiro Otomo, Comic Book: Katsuhiro Otomo, Screenplay: Izo Hashimoto, Cast: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Tessyo Genda, Kōichi Kitamura

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10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

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Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Virtual titles to stream from home

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Sprocket Damage
: Sprocket Damage digs deep(ish) into current and classic films and film-related subjects to bring to you insightful, humorous, and enlightening perspectives on the industry.

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Thu Apr 27, 2023


At Muenzinger Auditorium

Sat Apr 29, 2023

The Illusionist

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...