There is some kind of alchemy at work in Living, marrying the outline of a Japanese classic (1952’s Ikiru) with the literary craft of its scriptwriter Kazuo Ishiguro. In condensing the length of the adaptation, and moving to a period 1950s setting, he brings it closer in form to a short story: incidentally the idea for Ikiru came from one by Tolstoy.
Old Mr Williams has worked in the civil service all his life, keeping his hawkish gaze over the variously committed members of his town planning department. They have merely kept at the job, perpetual office drudgery keeping all manner of local projects in limbo. After receiving a devastating diagnosis, Williams is granted a perverse clarity; a sudden desire to make up for this lost time. Bill Nighy is magnificent as the ailing bureaucrat, a perfect match for the film’s understated emotional sweep.
Screenings of this film:
|2022/2023 Spring Term – (digital)|