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 <email@example.com>
At the Berlin International Film Festival in 1954, Ikiru was awarded the Silver Bear. 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 »
What help am I?
You - just to look at you makes me feel better. It warms this - this mummy's heart of mine. And you're so kind to me. No; that's not it. You're so young, so healthy. No; that's not it either... You're so full of life. And me... I'm jealous of that. If I could be like you for just one day before I died. I won't be able to die unless I can do that. I want to do *something*. Only you can show me. I don't know what to do. I don't know how. Maybe you don't know either, but, please......
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Kanji Watanabi is a quiet, melancholy man who has spent all his life behind his office desk doing sweet eff-all. When he is diagnosed with stomach cancer he realizes that he has been petty much dead his whole life, and searches desperately for away to live again.
This is Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, yes, even better than Rashomon and The Seven Samauri. It is a perfect true story of everybody's life- how we don't even realize we have it until we know it will be over in a short while. Watanabi's quest for self-discovery is one of the greatest from any motion picture ever made. The all-too-true paradox is one to end all paradoxes- that Watanabi is dead, and had been all his life, until he realized he was sick, which is when he began living for the first time. Takashi Shimura, the actor best known for his role as the wise, bald-headed Samauri in The Seven Samauri, and the professor out of the early Godzilla films, plays Watanabi perfectly- in my mind, it's one of the greatest film performances of all time.
Not everyone will love this movie. It was made a long time ago, the main character is an old fogey, it has subtitles, and it's pretty long. Many people today, especially young kids, would find it boring. Well, let 'em. There's no need to worry about them, they'll always have Pirates of the Carribbean, they'll always have The Matrix. Leave Ikiru and films like it to the true lovers of cinema.
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