Emotional Structures in Kurosawa’s Ikiru

One of my favorite scenes from this film occurs nearly halfway through and just before the protagonist dies. Watanabe (Takashi Shimura) has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and given roughly six months to live. Initially, after hearing the news, he attempts to kill himself through expensive indulgences with women, drinking, and gambling. He is unsuccessful in ending his life and continues on living and sulking in his misery and sorrow wondering what it all means now that he’s about to die.

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