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Blogged: Ikiru teaches through the mimesis of learning

Marc Rebillet at the Classics Revisited blog has put forward the idea that Kurosawa’s Ikiru differs from the rest of his works in that it allows us to observe characters going through the same process of learning that the director expects us to do in his other films.

In Rebillet’s words,

Throughout this film, the message is perfectly clear to the audience: do good, live life. However, at the end, instead of learning the lesson ourselves, we are allowed to watch a group of Watanabe’s former coworkers discover the moral of the story. This not only reinforces the idea of the film into our heads, but it also allows us to (I hope I’m not over-analyzing here) look at ourselves, in a sense. We are viewing other humans learning a lesson.

You can read the full post here. Do take a look, it’s a short read.




Good column and an even better movie. Ikiru has always been one of my favorite movies since the first time i saw it. In my opinion, it is the most emotionally powerful of Kurosawa’s movies. I also feel that Takeshi Shimura gives one of the greatest performances in film history in this role.

there has been a lot of talk of an American remake of this movie, and I have mixed feelings about it. on the one hand, it’s such a powerful and moving experience that I would hope the American version would be a big hit and draw attention to this classic film. however, i think the things that make this so great would be changed by the typical Hollywood studio.

The most obvious thing that would be changed: In Ikiru, the movie is all about the effect of the impending death of Watanabe and how it changes his last remaining days of life. However, the death itself, the thing that is driving the entire movie, is never shown on-screen. I it, I think, one of the most brilliant choices Kurosawa makes as a storyteller. I can not imagine a Hollywood studio leaving that scene out. But seeing the actual death would take away from the movie. i just can’t imagine it being as deeply moving. In order to make it more “Americanized” a lot of the impact would be taken away.

Maybe Shimura’s performance was just too powerful for me to imagine anyone else in this role. No matter how amny times i see it, when he is sitting on that swing in the snow, singing “Life is Brief”, I get choked up. Every time. No matter how good of a performance a new actor would give, i can just see myself saying “It’s not the same.”

I am getting way off topic here and starting to ramble. I was just happy to see some attention being payed to ikiru. I think it’s quite a testiment to the achivements of Kurosawa that a movie this emotionally powerful and cinematically brilliant is often overlooked when talking about his best films. Just goes to show how many cassic movies Kurosawa made.



for me is the same………it is one of my favourites.!

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