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
The song sung by Kanji Watanabe, in the bar, is called Gondola no Uta, "The Gondola Song". Written in 1915, it is a song about women and how they should find love before their time has run out. 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 »
There's nothing left of that will or passion. They've been completely worn down by the minutia of the bureaucratic machine and the meaningless busyness it breeds.
See more »
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.
118 of 152 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?