Film Review: Ikiru (1952) by Akira Kurosawa

Thought of by many as probably the greatest movies of Akira Kurosawa and of Japanese cinema generally, “Ikiru” is a film that thrives on the humanism it emits and its harsh critique of forms.

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The story focuses on a middle-aged public servant, the chief of the division of Public Circumstances, who has been doing the very same job for greater than 30 years, even receiving awards for the truth that he has not missed even sooner or later of labor. His spouse has died, and he lives in the identical home together with his son and his spouse, who appear to solely care about his will, nonetheless. In the future, he learns that he has abdomen most cancers, a illness that leaves him with solely a 12 months to dwell. As he begins to look at his life, for the primary time realizing its futility, he decides to discover a goal. After a while spent in Japan at night time, first with an eccentric author after which with an ex-colleague, Toyo, who introduces him to the night time lifetime of after-war Japan, he decides to dedicate the remainder of his days to fulfilling the calls for of a bunch of girls, who wish to rework an space that pollutes right into a playground. In his efforts, he has to face the merciless mechanisms of forms.

Kurosawa focuses primarily on two features: the seek for id and the criticism of forms. The primary one highlights his humanism and his perception that even probably the most “frequent” man can change his life by doing one thing for the frequent good, thus having an affect on the earth that primarily justifies his/her existence. The results of Watanabe’s actions turns into extra evident within the third a part of the film, which unfolds throughout his funeral, as the ladies who had utilized for the creation of the playground are the one ones who’re actually shattered, whereas the angle of his colleagues and kin lingers someplace between the judgemental and the detached. 

Relating to the second remark, Kurosawa is sort of harsh in his critique, notably in the direction of the individuals who represent it, presenting them as actually despicable people, whose solely purpose is to fake they’re doing one thing so as to justify their wage, and, primarily their existence. The result’s a system that each one it does is placing obstacles within the efforts of residents, with the director highlighting the actual fact by way of the futile makes an attempt of the group of girls to have somebody cope with their software, as varied public servants are directing them from one company to the opposite, all of them afraid to take any form of duty. Toyo’s character additionally strikes in the identical course, as she considers her life within the public sector quite uninteresting, which is what leads her to select up a job at a small manufacturing unit, the place, even when her job is tiring and demanding, makes her really feel a way of accomplishment, simply because she manages to create one thing (on this case, toy rabbits).

One other remark, which is introduced by way of the night time Watanabe spends within the varied golf equipment and bars of the town, is the westernization that’s notably evident within the youth of the time, and the novel distinction with the earlier era, with the members of the latter, like him, seeming fully misplaced and time with their “obsession” with the standard Japanese values. 

The film leans closely on the shoulders of Takashi Shimura within the protagonist position, who’s magnificent because the archetype of the “little man”, emitting compromise, distress and servility from each pore. Additionally of be aware is the gradual realization of his state of affairs and the next transformation he reveals, to a fearless, decisive man. The scene with the Yakuza members is attribute in that regard, with them attempting to persuade him to cease his efforts violently, however in the long run, leaving crushed, realizing that Watanabe will not be afraid of dying in any respect. Miki Odagiri as Toyo can be fairly good, emitting the precise reverse mentality than him, being disillusioned, humorous, cheerful and crammed with liveliness. 

Asakazu Nakai’s cinematography can be masterful, with him presenting photographs of utter realism, within the public sector (with the bundle of paperwork on Watanabe’s desk being one of many samples) the assorted areas he visits through the night time, his house and through his funeral. “Ikiru” was the primary movie the place Kurosawa determined to do his personal enhancing and the outcome was magnificent, with all of the technical and aesthetic prowess of the film changing into evident within the flashbacks through the funeral, and the ultimate scene within the playground.

“Ikiru” is a real masterpiece of world cinema and a terrific testomony to the prowess of one of many biggest filmmakers of all time. 



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