Last Friday evening we had our first meeting for our film club. The first we had chosen to watch was Ikıru from Akira Kurosawa. As we both have seen other movies of Kurosawa we often referred to some of his other movies as well, during the discussion. Considering that we have found a new member at the end of the night, our club has a huge success and quite popular now :)
So, here are our notes for Ikiru (please excuse my typos);
- Yhe story of Ikiru was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich". Altough the plots are not similar beyond the common themen of a buereaucrat struggling with a terminal illnes, we can say that Kurosawa is under the effect of the or at least inspired by the Western classics since Ran was also inspired by the King Lear of Shakespeare.
- Ali said he actually didn't like the storytelling. He didn't tlike it when the good and the bad are so obvious, he was thinking some mystery in a movie would be good and that he wants to explore some things by himself.
- The scene where women were going to one room to another and facing a man directing them to another room was so annoying and true. I unfortunately could related to that scene and found it so similar to what could have been lived in Turkey esp. in 60s or 70s. Ali said it wasn't so realistic of women trying so hard for a park and also, after Mr Watanabe dies, their crying at the funeral was unrealistic. He couldn't believe that women could feel so much sorrow for an officers death who worked to build up a children park.
- The scene where Mr. Watanabe went to doctor made me laugh so much. His reactions to the old man who told him about the symptoms of the stomache cancer was a little bit exaggerated but i found it funny. Ali had the observation for Mr Watanabe's eyes. He opened his eyes so much and tried to have a dramatic look by using the puppy eyes. (thinking about it now, actually Japanese are obsessed with big eyes, so maybe this is important in acting to look with big open eyes, and maybe it means something, don't know. also, i looked at Watanabes scenes he really does opens his eyes all the way wide in a wierd way :s )
- We both observed that in any of the movies of Kurosawa that we have seen, women has an important role. The same thing is accurate with this movie too. There was a time at the film, where it was begining to be the story of an old, sick man who found his joy in life with a young cheerful woman, bu no! The director cut that story and continued with the story of the man fighting with the beurocracy.
- As someone who has watched Ran and the 7 Samurai, this movie really suprised me. The movie was in the modern times. The story was very global. His other movies are of a strong Japan Empire with epic stories while this movie was about the bad people of a weak and poor country after the WW2. There were no heroes, no honourable men and actually as we realised later, there were nothing beautiful in the movie. Not even a single beautiful scene. The athmosphere of the movie was completely depressing. The streets were covered in mud, people were poor, places were in a mess.. Ali interpreted this as a rebellion against the past, questioning the authorities. I interpreted it as the effect of the Western world and questioning the traditional image in peoples head. We both felt that the movie was very impressive in giving the intense effect it wanted to give.
- About the funeral scene, i was very disturbed by the Japanese drunk talk. That was pure torture! When the officers were talking about how they will be more like Mr Watanabe from now on, silly me, i really believed them. When i watched the part where one officer revolt against the system ant the other kept silence, and then after a short hesitate he also sat down, i was terrified and collapsed. That was so true and so cruel. Ali, on the other hand, would probably hate the movie if he hasn't seen that part. He tought the was finally complete with that scene because no one in the real world would change like that actually.
- We have also discussed how people change their point of wiev once they have a bad desase like cancer or likewise. Must we feel the breath of death on our face before we hang on to life and fight for what believe is true? The opening scene, for that reason, made me so sad. There was an x-ray of a stomache and an overvoice was saying that this man has stomache cancer and is not going to live long, but actually he never really lived.
- And lastly, at the final scene we saw Mr. Watanabe watching kids playing at the park. That was also an impressive scene. We had very disturbed feelings for the whole movie and kept the feeling like this until this scene came. Finally the audience could take a deep breathe. And from the camera angle it was obvious that Kurosawa wanted him to look bigger and more important. With the relief feeling for bot audience and the character, the movie ended. But somehow, i couldn't help thinking, what kind of a future is awaiting for this children? And what kind of people will they turn into...