Ikiru

I got through a long lecture and went home feeling tired.  I watched the Kurosawa film “Ikiru” again.  One of the scenes that leaves a strong impression on me each time is the doctor’s office with the patient who describes Watanabe’s symptoms.  A lot of the people in this movie talk about thinking about what they’re saying.  Watanabe’s dying final months seem desperate when the doctor doesn’t tell the truth, his work is meaningless, and his son is oblivious.  I felt a chill watching some of these scenes, as I thought about my brother struggling with cancer for seven years.  During the first half, I thought we were seeing too much of Watanabe with the writer, although his singing of “Gondola no Uta” was haunting.  I guess that when you get the news that you’re dying, you might not make the best decisions, but I questioned how Watanbe could ask the advice of the young Toyo about living.  I wondered what the actress Miki Odagiri did with the rest of her life after “Ikiru.”  I read that she died of heart disease in 2006 at the age of 76.  Watching this movie makes me think of what people will say about me after my death.  I don’t imagine anything like a wake.  I think that other people don’t really understand me.  Seeing this film again made me think about how great Akira Kurosawa was at directing.  I suppose that he thought of each of his films as a playground, with all the obstacles to creation to have to deal with.  I read through a Roger Ebert review of “Ikiru,” and he said that it had one of the greatest closing shots in the history of cinema.  Also, the older that Ebert got, the more he came to see Watanabe as being like every one of us.  I first saw this movie during the 1980s.  I think it is a film that you appreciate more as you get older.  I feel that most of today’s audience would be too impatient to sit through a movie like this.  It’s very demanding of your attention compared to what goes on in your typical blockbuster.  I have not seen “Split” yet.  I thought about Takashi Shimura, who appeared in 21 Kurosawa films.  His last appearance in a Kurosawa film was in “Kagemusha” in 1980.  He died in 1982 at the age of 76.  It’s too bad that he could not appear in “Ran.”  I tried to sleep peacefully through the night but couldn’t.  I heard about Donald Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.  I also heard about Goldman Sachs backing out of the Raiders deal with Las Vegas.  I saw on CBS News a report on how thieves are outsmarting so-called smart cards.  They take over people’s accounts.  Some of the people who died on February 2 include Boris Karloff (1969), Sid Vicious (1979), Alistair MacLean (1987), Bert Parks (1992), Donald Pleasence (1995), Gene Kelly (1996), Philip Seymour Hoffman (2014), and Bob Elliott (2016).  Today is a birthday for Christie Brinkley (63) and Brent Spiner (68).

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