07 November 2022

"Living"


I am so very much looking forward to seeing this movie.  Here are excerpts from a review in The Guardian:
Living [is] tailor-made for Nighy by its scriptwriter Kazuo Ishiguro, who asked if he might like to star in a remake of Kurosawa’s Ikiru. He would; it’s now his first proper shot at an Oscar. Nighy plays Mr Williams, a widower who oversees an office of paper-shufflers in post-war County Hall. A doctor tells him he has stomach cancer and six months to live. So he starts trying to do so, helped by a boozy playwright (Tom Burke) met on a botched suicide trip to the seaside, as well as Wood’s waitress and a sunny civil servant played by Alex Sharp.

What drew Ishiguro to Nighy, the former emails, was “his ability to arouse, seemingly at will, not only an audience’s emotions, but also its affection”. That makes Nighy “unique among his generation”; only Cary Grant and James Stewart are apt comparisons...

Living is as far up Nighy’s alley as you can get without hitting the next street. He’s an old pro at bureaucrats awakened by girls in cafes. There’s also rain, cigarettes, Westminster, fabulous tailoring (Nighy has always avoided Shakespeare on account of the trousers) and lots about the transformative power of a trilby.
More about Nighy the person at that link, and more about Living from the BBC:
There are few things people like talking about less than the inevitability of death. For many, that fact exists buried in the deepest crevices of the mind, too hard even to contemplate... part of the power of Living is how it rejects despair: "we're tricking the audience a little bit because they think they are on a certain journey, but the payoff is incredibly cathartic, and it's a really warm embrace. Emotionally it starts with somebody who's dead and by the end of it, it's somebody who's very much alive"... there is profound freedom in our acceptance of our own mortality. In motioning us towards this, films like Living can have a real part to play: for while a level of fiction cushions the blow for the existentially terrified, they can bring audiences closer to confronting what a good life and a good death means to them...

That beauty is often showcased in the particular sub-genre of films, that includes Living, in which protagonists face death by really embracing life. From the tear-jerking romance of Love Story (1970) and Bright Star (2009) to the gallows humour of Last Holiday (1950) and its 2006 remake; from the sweeping drama of Melancholia (2011) and Death in Venice (1971) to the musical flights of fancy of Bob Fosse's All that Jazz and audacious action of Crank (2006) and Source Code (2011) – each of these movies considers a fundamental question: when death goes from abstract to imminent, what do we do with the time we have left? For many cinephiles, that question has never been better answered than in Akira Kurosawa's 1952 film Ikiru, of which Living is an English language remake...

The idea of looking inwards for fulfilment before it's too late is at the core of what Ishiguro wanted to express in Living – along with the acknowledgement that you "can make your life full and worthwhile beyond a sense of external achievement that the world recognises. You can have a very humble small life, but you can make a supreme effort within the limitations of that life."

5 comments:

  1. You had me at Ikiru.
    Sandra

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    Replies
    1. I watched Ikiru tonight; it's streaming on the Criterion Channel.

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    2. My favorite scene is the singing of the song "Come on-a-my-house". Which was written by Ross S. Bagdasarian( Alvin and the Chipmunks).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTToa0c7uC4

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  2. I should take a break from this blog. My reading/viewing list is growing out of control.

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  3. Watched Ikiru. Great film. Somehow I missed it until now. Thank you.

    I can't help but think that the "dead" Japanese were actually far more alive than the average American of today. They at least they had a culture, however stifling. We're experiencing late capitalism collapse. A frenzy of self-gratifying activity devoid of soul.

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