Ikiru - as featured in 'Waypoints'

I watched this film following Rob’s recommendation on Waypoints a couple of weeks back. Overall I enjoyed it a great deal. Some stand out points:

  • It has great scenes of Japanese cultural activities from (presumably) the 50s. Dance halls, cinema, restaurants and bars all feature. The strip club scene Rob mentioned is so short! Anyone seeing the film based on that would have been v disappointed… The wake scene is interesting, having recently attended a wake here in the UK.

  • It’s clearly specifically critical of the bureaucracy of the time, but I think its message that work should have some personal meaning (and be of benefit to society) is hugely relevant in the age of “bullshit jobs”.

  • I enjoyed Miki Odagiri’s performance in particular, her character Toyo has an infectious joie de vivre. I made this gif of her eating something equivalent to popcorn.

Has anyone else watched this because of the podcast, or otherwise?


I’m going to be watching this film tonight, actually! I’ve been digging into quite a few of Kurosawa’s works lately as inspired by Rob, but I’d saved Ikiru for my last one as it was the film that, in a way, started it all.

Definitely keen to see what I make of it.

(P.S. For anyone who wants to watch it; as I mentioned in the thread for the specific Waypoints episode, there’s a great deal with the BFI Player where you can get access to a huge catalogue of films, including Ikiru and many great Kurosawa works. It’s £5 per month after the two-week free trial. I’m not sure if this is UK-only, but it would be ideal for you if so, VanillaLenin!)

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Oh sweet, I’d be interested to hear what you think.
That’s a pretty good deal, I should have looked for that before getting the dvd…

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I actually started Ikiru when Rob mentioned it was his Waypoint and wanted to finish it before I listened to what he had to say. I’ll have to come back to this thread when I actually finish it; it was quite late and I fell asleep before I was able to get to the end.

Also I know Kurosawa is kind of a cliche film buff fave but goddamn is he a great director y’all

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It’s long and fairly slow at times, I can see how you might start to doze!

This was my first Kurosawa film and I’d agree so far - pretty great direction all round. Looking forward to seeing some of his other stuff.

If you’re in any way a fan of Japanese nightclub activities from the past, check out Hiroshima Mon Amour. The whole second half of the movie is the characters walking around the the late 1950s Hiroshima and spend a good deal of the second half walking through the nightlife scene…

On second though, scratch that because no offense to film majors or French New Wave fans, but Hiroshima Mon Amour is boring as hell. Just brutally slow.

Instead watch Godzilla vs The Smog Monster (aka: Godzilla vs Hedorah) because a good chunk of the middle of that movie is set in a 70s dance club. It’s also the only “psychedelic” Godzilla movie. Plus there’s a very heavy environmentalism theme that matches the acid freakout imagery rather well.

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