As perfect as everyone says. Intensely humane and challenging. Like Noh, most of the drama occurs off-stage and we're left to witness the diverging, often humorously misguided ruminations of the people left in the room. Everyone has a theory, and like life, they say more about their proposer than their subject. What would you do if your days were numbered? We should probably figure that out before they actually are.
I watched this believing this movie would be mostly about dealing with inevitability of ones mortality but funny enough it has one of the most interesting commentaries on the nature - and failure - of bureaucracy in society. But thats why Kurosawa was such a genius, he gives you so very much Also, it has some of the greatest framing of any of his films, and thats saying alot
Cynical & hopeful simultaneously; few have the will to enact positive change, even if everyone would like to. Shimura bounces between great and over baked. 30mins could be cut, many repeat themes. "Happy Birthday" is fantastic, and "Gondola" will make you cry everytime. Famous snow/swing scene is famous. The 'twist' halfway through is neat, as is the 2nd half debate. Bureaucracy critique done well, love the ending.
as the last shot fades, takashi shimura's gaze remains indelible. the idea that the threat of death is what gives life purpose is not a new one, but its almost clichéd status does not prevent us from being haunted by it, in this kurosawa masterpiece that has a heartbeat of its own.
While I haven't seen every film by Kurosawa yet, this one is so far my favorite. It is the most personal film I've seen by him with such a deeply profound message. A film that seeks to remind you that you are alive in such a beautiful and poetic way. One of my favorite films of all time.
Beautiful, poetic, inspiring and honestly perfect from beginning to end. If I didn't think already that Kurosawa was a genius (which I did since I saw Seven Samurai for the first time), this movie would be more than enough to convince me. The fact that these two films were directed back to back is just baffling to me.
THE carpe diem movie to rule them all....works best when Kurosawa stops letting the characters (or, shudder, the voiceover) editorialize so much, and lets the brilliant imagery (such as the (one of the top 10 scenes of all time) scene of Kenji swingin and singin in the snow)...if you're tired of "it's a wonderful life"'s (artful) hokum, let this film affirmation be your spirit guide....
3-4. It has some blunt edges (like the novelist, Kurosawa's stand-in, or some of the on-the-nose dialogue), and existentialism is still philosophically dodgy, but it's altogether an evocative movie (Love the 'Life is Brief' and 'Happy Birthday' moments), and probably one of Kurosawa's warmest treatments of the human condition. And it's gorgeous; just the lighting here is awe-inspiringly beautiful.