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When petty official Kanji Watanabe (Takashi Shimura) learns he is going to die he begins a quest for the true meaning of existence. Realising that his life until now has been wasted and no longer finding solace in his family or job he withdraws his money from the bank, intending to spend his last days in pleasure. It is not long before pachinko and alcohol lose their charm, and Watanabe begins to master his own existence. It is only after realising he is going to die that man finally discovers how beautiful life can be. Considered by many to be amongst Kurosawa's best, Ikiru is a powerful indictment of official bureaucracy and our understanding of what it means to live.
Truly a masterpiece. Should be required watching for all.
What an incredible movie. Some might say it is slow, but the attention to detail and the understated expressions and behaviour of the characters belie the turmoil, the suffering of the main character. My favourite movie of all, and inspirational.