Thursday, 19 March 2009


Dir: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Takashi Shimura, Miki Odagiri
Year: 1952

It's a little known fact that Narry Borman lives in Japan. Some say he arrived before the first Dutch traders, but that's another story. This gives him the perfect opportunity to watch some fascinating Made in Japan films.

Kurosawa's films are famous worldwide, granted. Ikiru isn't his most well-known flick, though. There's no Toshiro Mifune, there are no Samurai, and it's even set in modern times...

Ikiru is about a man who questions his whole reason for ever being alive when he learns he has stomach cancer. He regrets being emotionally distant from his son, regrets his 30 years as an administrator who stamps papers, and doesn't know what to do with his remaining time.

This powerful story of the meaning of life becomes positive only after the main character has died, thanks to some bizarre and sensational storyboarding and editting. It has one of the most memorable closing scenes ever in which the talented Shimura sits on a children's swing and sings a song about the brevity of life.

For me, this very intensity is its weakness, however. Over 2 hours of constant, pounding emotion, that examines what is in the heart of every man - it's all too much. It's like a man who only reads Satre for two years... he's intense, occassionaly interesting, but actually a little bit dull...



  1. Welcome, Elf! It's worth watching for Takashi Shimura's performance if nothing else. The guy is an incredible actor - Kurosawa sure knew how to pick them.