Ikiru (1958)


Ikiru – Akira Kurosawa

Summary:  A bureaucrat named Kanji Watanabe has spent most of his working life doing nothing and leads an unfulfilling life elsewhere.  However, upon hearing the news he has terminal stomach cancer he is left in shock, but yearns to find a meaning in his life.  Unable to take comfort or even tell his son about his illness, he meets a novelist who vows to show him how to live – by going out on a night on the town.  An unsuccessful attempt, Watanabe then befriends a young playful woman who he used to work alongside, but never paid too much attention to.  She lifts his spirits slightly but not for long until he finally decides to make a difference through his job.  When he dies his family and work colleagues debate what pushed the change in Watanabe’s behaviour in the last few months and pledge to be more like him in their lives.

My Review:  This is the first film I have watched from Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and I am definitely impressed.  The story, which is beautiful, holds itself up strong with magnificent black and white shots of a past Japan, it really makes a great Sunday viewing.  Although, not everyone’s cup of tea as it is long, old and subtitled, if it would be remade today it wouldn’t have the same the feel.  I really enjoyed this and will look to spend some spare time enveloping myself in more Kurosawa classics.

Rating:  3/5

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