Ikiru (1952)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Kanji Watanabe is a middle-aged man who has worked in the same monotonous bureaucratic position for decades. Learning he has cancer, he starts to look for the meaning of his life.

When the pianist calls for requests he does not hesitate. To ask for this particular song is the most assertive thing he has done since getting the bad news.

Geoffrey O’Brien (Criterion)


Ikiru eviscerates the government bureaucracy for both its feudal vestiges and false American promises in the face of proletarian poverty.

Ben Livant (Slant Magazine)