THURSDAY JANUARY 8
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
In Japanese with English subtitles
Although Japanese director Akira Kurosawa is best known for his huge, epic samurai movies, it is this film which is considered by many critics to be his finest creation (and he has made so many masterpieces). Ikiru centers on a melancholy bureaucrat Kenji Watanabe who works at Tokyo City Hall. After dedicating 30 years of his life to this dull job, he suddenly is shaken by the realization that it’s all been a waste, and starts searching for some kind of meaning to life. In the end, this movie is about someone who desperately wants to live before they die.
Based on the story “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy, this translation to the screen is beautifully realized. The acting is haunting, the cinematography and the music score perfect. Its narrative structure isn’t the standard formula storytelling, it’s inventive and beautifully thought-provoking. A film which is absolutely riveting and remains one of the most heart-wrenching depictions of the human spirit in its struggle for redemption. If you want to detox from American holiday blockbusters, and discover a new way to see both life and cinema, then this film is may come as an incredible relief.
On the Korte Spinhuissteeg, a tiny alleyway just off Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185