Saturday, February 9, 2008


Ikiru is a powerful, but understated classic by the acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

This is an old black-and-white movie filmed in Japanese (available from the Criterion Collection - you can find it on Netflix - with English subtitles). If that makes you think of Godzilla, you're definitely on the wrong track.

A man who has mindlessly slaved away in a government office for thirty years discovers that he has stomach cancer and perhaps six months to live. It's a grim wake-up call, but the subject matter is handled in a surprisingly gentle way and the story is uplifting and thought-provoking without being morose (and refreshingly non-sappy).

I don't want to share more of the plot than that, but wanted to mention that the faces, the expressions, the calm urgency of the main character, the camera angles and even the simplicity of the story are beautifully artistic - in a kind of primitive (as far as movies go) way. A really wonderful movie and very fitting to watch during Lent. Most appropriate for teens and adults.


Margaret in Minnesota said...

This looks really good and is not likely something I would have found on my own. Thank you, Alicia.

Esther said...

My DH and I actually love movies like this but this one was not familiar to me. Mahalo.

Love2Learn Mom said...

I'd love to hear what you both think of it after you see it. I should give credit, though, to Ana, who first introduced me to it through her unit study on Akira Kurosawa in Heart and Mind Magazine. :)