in about 100 words or less
Japan 143m, B&W
Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cast: Takashi Shimura, Shinichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka, Minoru Chiaki, Bokuzen Hidari, Kamatari Fujiwara
Ikiru is the remarkable and moving story of an ineffective long-serving government official who learns that he has less than a year to live and must come to terms with his own mortality. In his remaining days he overcomes his own government’s bureaucracy to transform a contaminated neighbourhood drainage area into a children’s playground. As his co-workers attempt to understand his motivations while attending his funerary memorial, they become inspired when they learn of his unselfish act and commit to making something more of their lives. Kurosawa’s thoughtful and seemingly simple story is a perfect vehicle for his examination of our mortality. Its existential message is eternally relevant – and it also becomes ever more significant for audiences who are advancing in age (Klaus Ming January 2011).