Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not-so-lite entertainment

Perhaps one reason I welcomed the 'lite entertainment' of yesterday morning's 'Major League 3' was because last Friday night, I watched a not-so-lite movie.

There are as many, if not more, foreign-made movies on my Netflix as there are Top 40 style American blockbusters. Quite a few titles on my queue are Japanese. Most of those are classics.

'Ikiru': Read the synopsis here; reviews here and here. Released in 1952 (54 friggin' years ago!), the storyline is timeless as well as timely to contemporary lifestyles. The lead character is brilliantly acted by Takashi Shimura; the movie artfully directed by the legendary Akira Kurasawa (mentioned in an earlier post about 'Rashomon').

It's not enough to describe 'Ikiru' as a great film, but boyohboy is it a great film. As the story unfolds, one is drawn into the desperate, anguished state of mind of the protagonist, Kanji Watanabe. The slow pace of the film (attributable to Kurasawa's direction) appears to be a deliberate ploy to increase our (the viewer's) frustration as we desperately try to urge the movie on to a happy, or at least - satisfying ending.
Alas, we can't and the ending doesn't deliver with any such predictability.

Instead, invaluable life lessons to be learned here.
Sorry to give away anything of the ending, but for me, it did reek of futility at one level, hope at yet another.

Prepare yourself before screening this one.
It's from the glass half full or half empty genre.

One word movie review: heartwrenching.

No comments: