May 7, 2017

To Live

I recently heard about the film Ikiru on a podcast and decided to spend a leisurely Friday night watching the film. And I loved it. Ikiru means "to live", but the film is about Kanji Watanabe, a man that is dying. The first screen shot is from an early scene in the movie, around the time that Watanabe learns that "pleasure is not life". He sings the song, "Gondola no uta", hauntingly with a sense of great loss in his voice. It's a deeply emotional and honest film about life. 

I think in a lot of American films with a terminally ill protagonist, the protagonist does something drastic. They quit their job. They sell all their things. They go and have an "eat, pray, love" experience or something of the sort. Not in Ikiru. And that's why I loved it. Happiness is relative. You don't have to do something that seems extraordinary to have a worthwhile life. At this point in my life, this film really resonated with me. I'm sure a lot of us grapple with the same questions - Am I merely existing? What is happiness? I am in my early twenties and I still have a lot of growing to do. I have given into hedonism time and time again. And have always felt empty. Watanabe's realization that pleasure is not life coincides with recent events and thoughts that I have been having recently.  Like many people, I liked to joke that 2016 was a terrible year - I experienced a lot of hurt, resentment, and unhealthy relationships. 2017 started off rocky, but I'm starting to understand and come to terms with my priorities, trying to learn new skills, and setting new goals for myself.

I don't know what it means "to live". But I do know that with every experience, opportunity, and person that comes into my life I will get closer to understanding. 

This screenshot is from towards the end of the film, when Watanabe is sitting on a swing in the park, singing "Gondola no uta" again. But this time with contentment in his voice.


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