Kanji Watanabe is a longtime bureaucrat in a city office who, along with the rest of the office, spends his entire working life doing nothing. He learns he is dying of cancer and wants to find some meaning in his life. He finds himself unable to talk with his family, and spends a night on the town with a novelist, but that leaves him unfulfilled. He next spends time with a young woman from his office, but finally decides he can make a difference through his job... After Watanabe's death, co-workers at his funeral discuss his behavior over the last several months and debate why he suddenly became assertive in his job to promote a city park, and resolve to be more like Watanabe. Written by
Mike Rosenlof <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Takashi Shimura rehearsed his singing of "Song of the Gondola," director Akira Kurosawa instructed him to "sing the song as if you are a stranger in a world where nobody believes you exist." See more »
In the last scene with Toyo (in the restaurant with the birthday party going on), the position of the bell on the mechanical bunny changes, even though neither actor has touched the bunny. See more »
That's not art. A striptease isn't art. It's too direct. It's more direct than art. That woman's body up there? It's a big juicy steak. It's a glass of gin. It's a hormone extract. Streptomycin. Uranium!
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I can safely say that I have seen no finer film than Kurosawa's true masterpiece, Ikiru. The story of a dying petty bureaucrat in 1950's Japan, Ikiru is as uncompromisingly honest and beautiful a film as has ever been made on the subject of life. Kurosawa elevates a story that could have been simple melodrama to the level of masterwork with a genuine love of his characters, and with an incredible technical direction. The film's structure accentuates and deepens its many, many lessons on life, and the performances, including a heartbreakingly earnest turn by Shimura are all flawless.
In short, Ikiru is easily one of the greatest works committed to film, and no discerning film aficionado should avoid experiencing it. Had Kurosawa directed only this film, it would still be enough to include him in the pantheon of the greatest storytellers who ever lived. Fortunately for us, it is simply the pinnacle of a staggeringly amazing career. It is the absolute definition of a 10/10 film.
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