Watanabe Kanji is a middle-aged man who has worked in the same monotonous bureaucratic position for thirty years. His wife is dead and his son and daughter-in-law, who live with him, seem to care mainly about Watanabe's pension and their future inheritance. After learning he has stomach cancer and less than a year to live, Watanabe attempts to come to terms with his impending death.
Cast & Credits
It's starts with the description of the protagonist's life - He's killing time, he's never actually lived - and a joke - Someone never taking a day off from work so no one realizes how unimportant his job really it - where themes get beautifully tied at the end of the movie. Then we have the journey of those women through all those bureaucrats trying to find a solution to their complaint, only to be sent to go in circles. I thought it was great but came to appreciate it even more by the end of the movie.
The first half of the movie follows the journey of a typical bureaucrat discovers he doesn't have long to live, only to realize he hasn't been alive much these past 20 years. He hasn't formed any warm relationship to go back to and get support, he hasn't done anything enjoyable and fun, and finally he hasn't done anything that'll make him appreciated and remembered. He was in daze trying to figure out the meaning of life and how to live properly.
The second half is a study of bureaucrats, and of humanity. It's about how human become desensitized to life when they can't see the bigger picture. Work in the government is like a war zone, and each wants to protect their turf, without caring about the functions and duties of the government as a whole. This causes a lot of senseless paperwork and no work actually being done. What was interesting here is how all bureaucrats reacted to our protagonist as he becomes this anomaly in the organization.
The story moves smoothly, the themes intact, and no scene was there to kill time. Also this type of movie one should pay attention to everything going on, on the screen. Like the reaction of the protagonist of losing his old had, or the people in the background preparing for a birthday, only to sing happy birthday once our hero found a meaning to his life. Definitely one can be reborn at any time, and it deserves a celebration.
The cast and director are of the most popular so there's no need to just repeat how awesome they are, but I just want to say I include myself now with those amazed with them.
2h23 minutes well spent. I will leave with my favourite quotes:
"You were a slave of your own life. Now you will become its master"
"It's our duty to enjoy life. Wasting it is desecrating God's gift"
"We have to be greedy for life"
"Greed is a virtue, especially the greed for enjoying life"
"People strangle themselves in their daily life"