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- 143 min.
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I'm going to come out and say it: 4 years ago, age 22, I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Without going into details, I undertook a very different journey than most to the cancer experience, I fought, with alternatives and great stubbornness, spending a lot of time exploring my darkside and making peace with myself. My dogged determination and some remarkable occurences seem to have ensured remission, but you can't beat the human condition and I have no pretenses at immortality, so whether you give me another 5 or 50 years...my only mission as such is to take life by the balls and remember this film.
Watching this film for the first time tonight presents life's exit as ultimate and inescapable, giving the viewer a choice both crystal clear and razor sharp. How would you live if passion and love were your only choices? It's that simple, that brutal. Towards the end, the pacing drops to 'utterly aching', and the sound drops away: yes, the film itself might be a little too long, but the lethargic pacing in the final reel is there for a purpose, this is where you come in, where you meditate on what death means to you. Kurosawa is respecting your intelligence, inviting you to cut out your heart for the grandest of causes. The beautifully shot sets almost breathe with that intensity. I see a great amount of what I've become in those moments where Wanatabe bows his head only to slowly rise and stare into the camera: such despondency, yet such fierce longing and humanity burning deeply in his wide open eyes. I saw the best of man in a single moment, and I almost wanted to cheer. I don't see this as a sad film - my grief has been satiated. Wanatabe does not become the angel of death that he is briefly portrayed as. That choice is open to all of us.
This work welcomes a conversation on the most human of topics in a graceful and powerful way. Every human being should watch this deeply, deeply mature film.
"I have seen Ikiru every five years or so, and the older I get, the less Watanabe seems like a pathetic old man, and the more he seems like every one of us"
Ebert review: http://tiny.cc/y8rgdj28s5
Beautifully shot, Timeless.
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In 22 official lists
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This movie ranks #2 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #9 in Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films
This movie ranks #13 in Kinema Junpo Top Japanese Films
This movie ranks #18 in 1950s
This movie ranks #33 in iCheckMovies - Most Favorite
This movie ranks #48 in The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema
This movie ranks #95 in Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #113 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #124 in Top 250
This movie ranks #136 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #150 in FOK! top 250
This movie ranks #183 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #213 in Reddit top 250
This movie ranks #222 in The British Film Institute: 360 Classics
This movie ranks #244 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #246 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #331 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #378 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #417 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #437 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #442 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #459 in Empire 500