Director: Akira Kurosawa
Year Released: 1952
Flamboyant film of a man confronting cancer and his wasted life as a government worker - after diagnosed with the disease, he tries to woo a young girl with gifts and waste his nights drinking ... only to realize that the meaning of his existence is to work towards something that will outlive him (a playground, in this case). Switches gears mid stream - like in High and Low - after the man meets his expected end and the film's narration is abruptly taken over by the men who worked with him. Seems determined to make you think it's a great film - Kurosawa is under the false assumption he has the whole purpose of life and death pegged in one instance - and, as with Sirk and some of Satyajit Ray's films, is determined to make you cry. I found it to be both intriguing and maudlin at the same time - for all the scenes of the old man's whimpering, slump-shouldered self-pity, there's a truly inspired touch, like the justly famous scene of the man on the swing or even the ending itself, which suggests that the man's death did not affect his coworkers as profoundly as he would have liked.