Ikiru (To Live)

 

Akira Kurosawa is my favorite filmmaker.  He has the ability to make us feel life in his movies.  When I am walking in the woods and really take the time to look and listen to nature,  I feel a part of one of his films.  When the sunlight beams around a cluster of leaves and changes their coloring, if only for a brief moment, this is what it feels like to watch a Kurosawa film.   Ikiru, the 1952 film, permits Kurosawa to nudge us all to create meaning in life.  The main character Watanabe, played by Takashi Shimura, is diagnosed with cancer at the onset of the film.  He immediately realizes that he cannot die because he has not yet lived.   In a scenario which could be most American workers plight, he spends his days working hard at a job that provides no meaning.   We journey with Watanabe through his thought process and glide through the scenes so typical and unfulfilling in a life, drinking, partying, looking for happiness outside of ourselves.   It is only when he creates a children’s park on a wasteland that he finds peace and his reason to be.   Ikiru, loosely translates in English into “to live”.  It is a great place for us all to begin.

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