I can't afford to hate people. I don't have the time for that.
(To Live) is a 1952 film by Akira Kurosawa
about the death of a petty bureaucrat. Kanji Watanabe has served in a monotonous bureaucratic position in City Hall for 30 years, providing for a son who only seems to care about his money. He is seemingly content with this barely living routine, until a trip to the doctor reveals that he is dying of stomach cancer
. Suddenly awakened to the meaninglessness of his life so far, Watanabe searches in vain for a way to give his life purpose, trying dissipation, hedonism and a (platonic) relationship with a much younger woman
before finally realizing that the key just happens to have been sitting on his own desk all along: a plan to build a playground in a poor neighborhood. Something that only someone with his skills, developed over a lifetime spent in the bureaucracy, is going to be able to get accomplished.
Considered Kurosawa's finest film to be set in contemporary Japan (most of his famous films are jidai-geki
), it was the film he made right before Seven Samurai
, and if not for its proximity, Ikiru would probably be held in even higher regard. As it stands, the film is considered an absolute classic from a master filmmaker, with Takashi Shimura
giving the performance of his career.
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