Set in Japan in the 16th century (or so), an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them, or cause them to turn on each other...and him...
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>
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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