Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TCM's Akira Kurosawa tribute

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa (the actuall date of birth being the 23rd), and TCM is marking the occasion by showing Kurosawa's movies for the next four Tuesday nights in prime time. Tonight, I'm particularly looking forward to Throne of Blood, at 10:30 PM ET, as it's one that I surprisingly haven't seen before. The night, however, kicks off with a movie that I saw many years ago: Ikiru, at 8:00 PM.

The plot is fairly simple. Kanji is an old man who has spent his entire working life doing little to nothing as a government clerk, merely stamping papers, finds out that he's got incurable stomach cancer and that he's going to die in a matter of months. Well, his body is going to die; he soul has been moribund for years. Learning, though, that his body is about to give out, Kanji decides to spend the remaining time he has actually living, and to leave a legacy by trying to get a playground built for the neighborhood children.

Unfortunately, Ikiru is a movie that, like Brighton Rock, I don't remember quite so well. I first saw it maybe 20 years ago on one of the PBS stations, which would run classic foreign films. It's also where I first saw The Cranes Are Flying, Fritz Lang's M, and even The Seventh Seal. They had some more obscure stuff, and I think it was even my first exposure to Bollywood, which I distinctly remember not really getting at the time. (It didn't help that this was the late show.)

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