02 July 2010

Ikiru (1952)


Let's not talk about this movie.
So basically: There's this guy, Kanji, and he's just been going through life all empty and with no ambition or anything to show for anything. Then, he goes to see the doctor and finds out he's dying from stomach cancer. This starts off a chain of events where Kanji is searching for a meaning to his life, a purpose. It's a classic tale of Carpe Diem. He spends a night with an author out in the city and then meets up with a coworker the next day. These two hit it off, but he doesn't want to get involved because of his illness. Eventually he sees that in order to have meaning in his life he must get a park built. This is the same park the government, who he works for, is trying to prevent from being built. Before he makes much progress and with forty-odd minutes left of the film, Kanji passes away. The rest of the film takes place at his funeral with his colleges talking about him and how he had changed the last few months of his life. The movie ends with his colleagues completing his legacy and building the park.

This was painful to watch. First off, it was incredibly difficult to get my hands on a copy and when I finally did, the audio and the subs were both WAY off! This might put me at a bit of a bias, but it should be countered by my love of other Kurosawa films. This one, however, fell short of expectations. The plot itself didn't interest me, but I thought since it was a Kurosawa film, it HAS to be good. I was wrong. It wasn't that great. It might, in part, have to do with the times I live in. Maybe back in the fifties the plot of someone walking through life as a zombie until an incident happens where the main character tries to find meaning or change his ways was something of a new thing, but now it's a predictable plot. Personally I didn't find it that interesting.

This film fails to live up to the reputation Kurosawa has earned and does not deserve to have the "prestige" of a top movie.

Ziggi seal of disapproval!


  1. I love your little bolded subheadings, they almost always make me giggle.

    Oh no, harsh Ziggi critique :O

    but yeah, the way you describe it, it doesn't sound all that meaningful or original. And no matter how brilliantly it is shot, I can't imagine 40 minutes of funeral.

  2. :D yey! I'm glad. Most of them are just quotes from the movies, but some of them are things we said while watching. Hurry and come back so you can marathon with us!

    Yeah ...

    It wasn't! Lulz, there were flashbacks with the funeral scene.

  3. Ok you have no idea what you are talking about. This film is brilliant. It probably done heaps of times by other people, but Kurosawa did it the best. If you didn't have the subs and audio in synch I think you would have lost a lot of the emotion Kurosawa developed through the film.

    This film is highly relevant now for me anyway as I just started full time work. Spending most of my days in cubicle and all that stuff. I actually rate this film as one of the greatest ever, and probably Kurosawas finest.

  4. You shouldn't start of saying I don't know what I'm talking about. People have opinions. This is mine and it differs from yours.

    But, you do back up your statement, so yey! And they are valid points. I did state that I did not have a great experience with this film, and I think that might be partly the reason.

    If I ever get my hands on a good copy of this film, I will rewatch. And I hope you are right. Because, even now, after it's been almost a year, this film, its visuals, are still fresh in my mind, and that gives me hope.

  5. I'm a bit sad to see that you didn't like this film. Ikiru is my favourite Kurosawa film and one of my favourite films overall.

    Admittedly the first time I watched it I didn't really know what to think. I didn't know if I liked it or not. It was on my mind for a week and the second time I watched it I knew I loved it. Now I watch whenever I feel like I need a good cry, and I feel much better afterwards :)

    I don't really know about the plot being predictable, I think it has been done before but Ikiru does it in a way that isn't cheesy and isn't all fluffy. It's not just about living your life and being happy, it's about making a difference to other people's lives. It's literally about the meaning of life (the title itself actually means 'living').

    But despite Kanji's good work and even with the work colleagues swearing to live like he did, the movie doesn't give us a neat ending, instead we see the more realistic ending where nothing has really changed.

    The whole movie is so tragic but at the same time it isn't, because Kanji was truly happy in his last moments. And even though the playground was such a small thing, he still made a difference.

    I hope you manage to find a better copy and rewatch it, because I really think it deserves another chance. Maybe it sounds trite but I really feel that this movie taught me something about life.

  6. you are entitled to your opinion, but i have noticed there are certain types of film you don't seem to truly understand or appreciate, i'm talking about the ones which explore the human condition, nature of reality, existence.

    not all films are made for everybody ...

    i think you would probably have a different opinion when you've spent 10 years working a menial job for average pay and little to no hope of furthering your original goals. experienced real depression. hopelessness.

    and as for your comments on your opinion ... you are presenting yourself, in public, as an authority of sorts, so you need to accept you're opening your opinions up to criticism. humility is important for your own sake you know.