A lovely meditation on the magnificence of an ordinary life, this late-career masterpiece from master filmmaker Wim Wenders tracks a good-natured cleaner of Tokyo’s public toilets. Though the trappings of his life are modest, Hirayama (Kōji Yakusho) nevertheless takes great pride in his work and quietly marvels at the buzzing city around him. Hirayama’s world is full of analog joys, from his beloved books and plants to the cassette tapes packed with American rock-and-roll classics. With fine-tuned storytelling economy, Wenders captures the steady rhythms and everyday poetry in Hirayama’s carefully modulated routine. However, Hirayama’s days are not without flashes of drama, whether it be the tumultuous personal lives of strangers he encounters or the high jinks of his free-spirited younger co-worker Takashi (Tokio Emoto). Though he observes these goings-on with wry bemusement, Hirayama faces a more personal disruption when he gets an unexpected visit from a family member. For his unshowy yet deeply soulful performance, veteran Japanese performer Yakusho was awarded the Best Actor prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
CAST: Kōji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto, Arisa Nakano, Aoi Yamada
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