Since my territory has become small recently due to my chemo treatment, going to Torrance Library to get some DVDs or videos is one of a few things George and I enjoy. Because of a big Japanese community, the library has a big Japanese selection with English subtitles. George chose “Crazed Fruit” by Shintaro Ishihara (1956) and “ Ikiru (To Live)” by Kurosawa (1952), which were both big hits in Japan in the 1950’s.
“ Crazed Fruit” is a story about the so called “Solar-tribe”, rich spoiled young adults; affairs and a revenge by a man, who killed his betraying girlfriend and his older brother, who stole her from him. All characters are jerks and even the main character, the young brother, who looked innocent, commited two homicides at the end. The message seems that if you commit a sin, you are punished. There is no forgiveness, repentance, nor hope and made me depressed.
On the other hand, Kurosawa’s “Ikiru ( To Live)” is a story about a passive old diligent city employee, who searches for the real purpose of his life after he learned he was dying of stomach cancer.
As the theme was death, George was not sure if this was a good movie for me to see. Yet it was inspiring as the passive main character, whose life was vain and a waste, started finding meaning in sincerely serving citizens by building a park in spite of an uncaring bureaucracy and unfair judgments by his coworkers, who only think about themselves. The city employee dies alone on a cold night in the park, but he was happy.
Both movies depicted the corrupted real world and our sin natures very well, but “Crazed Fruit” has no redemption or grace, and “ Ikiru ( To Live)” shows hope overcoming death: When we touch someone’s lives, even facing death, our lives start having meaning. It was a night that for the first time I glimpsed the greatness of Kurosawa.