Thanks to Criterion for making this masterpiece available. Kurosawa's retelling of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich is beautiful on every level. No other filmmaker has or had the talent to frame every shot perfectly, while keeping his subject matter deeply human. Kurosawa knew humanity, its quirks, weaknesses, regrets, follies, and most importantly, the heights to which it can soar. Ikiru tells the story of a many who does what proves to be nearly impossible in the lives of most. Upon learning he is to die of stomach cancer, he changes his life. He learns to Live. But as with any tale of enlightenment, of those who gain an inner clarity about themselves, and who live their lives guided by that clarity, in truth and goodness, the majority do not understand. Boris Mouravieff call it the Law of Exception. Like drops jumping from the stream, only a few on the surface ever leave the inexorable pull of dictates of culture. The ones that remain cannot fathom those who have become free. And so, as Kanji Watanabe becomes free, as he Lives and as his work produces fruit born of his Being, those who follow are unable to overcome the resistance of inertia and entropy. A deeply saddening, but equally uplifting film. Highly recommended.