In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Kanji Watanabe is a civil servant. He has worked in the same department for 30 years. His life is pretty boring and monotonous, though he once used to have passion and drive. Then one day he discovers that he has stomach cancer and has less than a year to live. After the initial depression he sets about living for the first time in over 20 years. Then he realises that his limited time left is not just for living life to the full but to leave something meaningful behind... Written by
This film touched me in a way no other film has. Filmed in black and white and gorgeous, both in the visuals and in how the story unfolds. Behold the clever manner of gradually unfolding the story as people jog each other's memories at his funeral (an obligation for them, that gradually turns into a real eulogy). Everything is told in flashbacks: the mourners' memories unfold naturally, as people remember what the man did and struggle to comprehend why.
This film I would nominate for the golden five of the century!
I first saw it in 1956 or so at a small theater in downtown Chicago. A second viewing, years later, confirmed my initial pleasure!
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