Monday, January 23, 2012


An elderly bureaucrat who has given up on life long ago receives a terminal stomach cancer diagnosis. Despairing his wasted life, lack of friends, and his relationship with his estranged son, the man opts to spend every penny in a night of drunken revelry. Coming to his senses, he takes consolation in the company of a younger coworker who, in turn, inspires him to take up a small yet courageous act of public goodwill. "Ikiru" is a film of truth and great beauty from legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. A change of pace from his equally insightful Samurai pictures, "Ikiru" is a frank and existential look at one's man life, told artistically and atypically. Takashi Shimura is excellent and incredibly effective as the protagonist, and as his character's life begins to find purpose in the building of a playground against all the nonsensical and bureaucratic red tape, it culminates in one of the most beautifully realized endings in the history of the cinema. "Ikiru" is a sad, moving, and ultimately life affirming rumination on the banality of bureaucracy and the catharsis of charity.