A Japanese bureaucrat discovers he is going to die in a few months. Worse, he hasn't been alive in decades. This is the premise of "Ikiru", a Japanese movie whose title means "To Live". One of Kurosawa's lesser known productions, this movie set in post-war Japan follows the story of Kanji, an aging manager working in a council government office, whose paper-pushing, buck-passing, departmental run-around culture prevents any actual usefulness to the community. One major achievement of the movie is showing how corporate culture can slowly bury the souls of the people caught within it.
Kanji, after decades of work and sacrifice, is given a wake up call to his own mortality and is, at first, entirely bemused as to how to react. A sympathetic novelist he meets attempts to help him reach out and find pleasure in the night life of the city, but it is a young employee making her own escape from the stifling office culture who ultimately inspires him to find an authentic passion. The result is a beautiful, bittersweet movie that shows a flower can grow in the most barren of fields.
Posted on 30 April 2013 in
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