When I think of Akira Kurosawa, I always think of Samurai films. I've only seen Seven Samurai, which offers so much more depth; so much I needn't mention it.
Ikiru centres around a reclusive bureaucrat in Tokyo, living the same lifeless, monotonous lifestyle every day for 30 years.
We follow the man throughout his last days; learning he has stomach cancer and unable to empathise with anyone in his current life. We join him on the final quest for a meaning to his life, to all our lives.
I wasn't entirely sure if a Japanese film from the 50s could be so moving with its conventional acting and script; I was convinced I was in for a cliched and dated film. I was wrong. It's also surprisingly long, running at 143 minutes, which is only to be expected from a film with such directional talent and profound message.
Now that I have seen it, I am certain that it will always be an important film, more than just an old warming tale from back then, and it will always find its way into any list constructed by anyone who knows film. It's perfect, and I don't think it intended to be.