Wednesday, March 10, 2010

#194: Ikiru

1952, TSPDT Rank #79

This is not the Kurosawa film that most people would expect or want to see - mostly because it's not a samurai film and it doesn't have Toshiro Mifune. It is however, one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking films Kurosawa made; with a great performance by Takashi Shimura, as a man who realizes that he's been wasting his life once he gets stomach cancer. This is a film of incredible emotion and texture, with Kurosawa showing himself as the cinematic equivalent of a great novelist: the images contain rich description that communicates the feelings of the characters or important aspects of a certain scene, without specifically pointing it out to us through dialogue. Although the final section of the film seems to bog it down somewhat - that shot of Wantanabe on the swing in the snow ... it just sends chills down your spine. I'd like to know how one composes a shot that is that aesthetically brilliant - it doesn't seem to be something you could communicate through words; you need to have a strong vision. This is a film well worth seeing, it will provoke a lot of thought and feeling from your soul. And I think it's just as great as the other Kurosawa films that are so often spoken of.

(Rating: 9/10)

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