• Among Kurosawa’s films set in the twentieth century, Ikiru—which you can watch for free on Hulu this week—is probably the most widely seen and beloved. This soul-searching morality tale concerns Watanabe (the haunting Takashi Shimura), a widower and city worker nearing retirement who finds out that he has stomach cancer and must decide how to spend his remaining months. Though it was made only two years after the phenomenon of Rashomon, which put Kurosawa’s name on the art-house map in the U.S., it still took nearly eight years for Ikiru to be released here (in the meantime, the more exotic period films Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood, made after Ikiru, were distributed in the States). There’s little physical action, but emotionally, it’s tumultuous, and it’s one of Kurosawa’s most beautiful films, both in terms of the compositions of its images and the depth of its characters. In this short scene, marked by Kurosawa’s expressive camera work, meet Watanabe, at his most despairing after receiving the bad news.


  • By Dave
    October 10, 2012
    10:22 AM

    Any Blu-ray release planned for the US?
  • By Craig J. Clark
    October 10, 2012
    11:18 AM

    Just watched this again yesterday. There so many moments of such aching transcendence, I really do believe this is Kurosawa's crowning achievement.
  • By Batzomon
    October 10, 2012
    04:51 PM

    Red Beard may be Kurosawa's cinematic poem to the good in humanity, but Ikiru is an ode to the good in any human.
  • By Patrick
    October 12, 2012
    07:28 AM

    Shimura is one of the greats. Anything with him and Kurosawa is a must.
  • By Henry
    October 15, 2012
    01:31 AM

    Shimura is such a great actor who deserves more attention. He could be any characters in any movies, such as a great leader in Seven Samurais or a depressed old man in Ikru. Anybody knows where is he now or is he still alive.
  • By Billy
    September 23, 2013
    06:59 PM

    He's dead, Henry.

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