Opus on “Ikiru”

I was going to just surrender blogging for the rest of the day, due to the loss of Altman, but then I discovered that Opus, one of my daily blog stops, has just published a review of Kurosawa’s Ikiru, another one of my favorites, and a film that I’ve given a lot of attention in Through a Screen Darkly.

Check out Opus’s insightful overview of this classic.

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  • Amy Welborn


    What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Two things, anyway.

    1) If you (or interested readers) haven’t ever read O’Connor’s collected letters in The Habit of Being, do – this was her constant battle, both in terms of her politely clueless relations and neighbors, as well as in the context of the pietistic pudding known as “Catholic fiction” in the ’50’s that she had to very painfully review for the Atlanta diocesan newspaper.

    2) Copy this out and tape it on your computer. It’s from Jacques Maritain – I am not sure what, because I returned the biography I found it in to the library. He wrote (and remember the context there – his friendship with and support of so many of the avant-garde of the early 20th century artistic scene):
    …”[the critic] has no idea of the spiritual war that is being waged beneath the external signs of artistic agitation. There are some Catholics laboring on frontiers that do not appear on his geographical maps; they only ask their brothers not to shoot them in the back.”

  • Stephen

    I like Mike Nyman’s post! It’s almost a hopeless task, but kudos to you for trying. I think the heart of the problem is that many Christian brothers and sisters have a low tolerance for mystery and paradox. They usually don’t make good film critics and/or just “don’t get” cinema. Anyway, to paraphrase John Wesley…in essentials unity, in non-essentials freedom, in all things charity.

  • Julio

    I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said, but I just had to add to the chorus of encouraging voices.

    Your post is an excellent breakdown of the argument, by the way!


  • jasdye

    i just think that it’s nice of you to take time off the awards season (getting your tux set for the Oscars and all) and all the sets to visit and the Entertainment Tonight show and hanging out with Julia and Matt Damon and Brangelina to respond to Edwards’ claims.

  • Anonymous

    In the immortal words of that Veggie Tale about a dream (Archibald as Don Quiote) – “I think he’s been eating too much spicy salsa!”

    ditto – you should just ignore this one – not worth the effort….

    As always enjoying your work!
    =) Melissa

  • Drew Johnson

    Don’t go on the defensive too much. Even if all you did for a living was screen movies and critique them there is no shame in it nor anything un-Christian about it. Edwards is working out of a very myopic understanding of what the Christian call to vocation is. And it leads to a false dichotomy.
    Plus working at SPU is not that cool. just kidding, I’m just a proud Calvin College grad.

  • Tim

    I’d advise ignoring him, too, Jeffrey. I had to look up his “about me” section on his blog to find out who Edwards is. I knew he was a talk show host… somewhere. Turns out he’s a local host. In Detroit. On a dinky 50,000 watt station. That’s hardly a large enough forum to be worried about.

  • nancy

    Consistently enjoy lurking around your blog. First time to respond, just to say: imho you simply don’t need to defend yourself or owe anyone any explanations. You write good stuff. You have a loyal following. Enjoy, carry on, and let … ummm.. what’s his name again??… mutter away in his own blogosphere corner.

  • Wasp Jerky

    Hollywood culture? What does that even mean? Has this guy ever even been to Hollywood, or does he just prefer to deal in preconceived notions?

  • Sheila West

    Jeffrey, I made a post at A&F where I urged you and Peter and Mark to stop posting about any of this at all, anywhere on the web, and get a Christian mediator involved in it. I stand by that suggestion.

  • Mark

    You know there’s more truth to that than you may think…
    Part of the reason why mainstream Hollywood doesn’t make Christian films is because they’re sick of dealing with the weirdoes. And you know what? I don’t blame them.
    I have a feeling that C.S. Lewis would be crucified if he were around today. NOT LITERAL ENOUGH!
    Unfortunately, it seems the only way to have a legitimate Christian “hit” is when the main star comes under such scrutiny that people feel it’s their obligation to attend.

  • Rich

    My brother in Christ, Jeffrey –
    I think this means, as they say in the business, you’ve arrived. Heck, we all knew THAT a long time ago.


  • Sheila West

    I’d say that was one lawsuit-worthy blog-posting Mr. Edwards made about you guys. Maybe even class action-worthy.

    Of COURSE he took it down!

    There are two conservative commentators I’d like to compare him to: O’Reilly and Limbaugh. O’Reilly is smart enough to watch what he says (most of the time). Limbaugh (lately) shoots himself in the foot at almost every turn. Somewhere on this sliding scale between O’Reilly and Limbaugh is Mr. Edwards. In my estimation, he falls closer to Limbaugh. Either way, he is (like both of those other two gentlemen) needlessly inflamatory and possibly just seeking a quick avenue to as many national headlines as possible.

  • Mike Nyman

    You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a fundamentalist when culture is on the line.

    Please keep up the great work. You are doing a great service.

  • Martin

    Anyone who wants to read the full text of Edwards’ withdrawn post may find it here.

  • Thom

    “As I freely confess on my site, in my book, at the CT site, and beyond, I work FULL TIME at Seattle Pacific University.”

    Working against the Evangelical community from within, eh? ;)

  • Cpt Casual-T

    I finally got to see Ikiru about a month ago. What a treat. Some folks find it depressing but I found it very much life affirming.

    Savoy6 says “although he was never really accepted in his home country”. My sister-in-law is Japanese and has given me a small window into the culture there. Ikiru is all the more remarkable because it is counter-culture, even today, over 50 years later, especially the young woman’s carefree attitude towards work and life that inspires Mr. Watanabe.

    Thanks for the interview link, Scott. I printed it to keep with my DVD.

  • Savoy6

    Kurosawa was an incredible genius, although he was never really accepted in his home country. If you can believe it, in Japan his films are considered somewhat frivolous and shallow! An interesting insight into Japanese culture.

  • Scott Derrickson

    My very favorite film of all time. Not the best made film ever, not even Kurosawa’s best made film. But it’s just simply my very favorite film.

    Here’s a link to an interview I did, where IKIRU is the sole topic of discussion: