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  • Writer's pictureEugene

Perfect Days (2023)

This was a film that did divide us in some ways, but that always makes for a good discussion.  For one member of the group, the film was making obvious points about the importance of a life of service, particularly when someone is in a seemingly low status occupation. There were a few comments about feeling restless and bored at certain parts of the film.


On the other hand, we felt this film was a ‘piece of art’ with exquisite sound and great music. We were on board with the message that giving selflessly and honouring small gestures in life can create a sense of joy and well-being.  The people who were ‘the least’ among us, could be the greatest. We liked the way Hirayama accepted everyone, including the itinerant man, making no judgement and seeing everyone as equal.


Hirayama’s life as a toilet cleaner is one of acceptance, peace and satisfaction. He leads a simple low-tech life, but that is just what he wants. One of our group talked about her love of baking and how much happiness this brought her.  We reflected on the special fulfilling job of a gardener and about ‘keeping life simple’.  We talked about mindfulness and how routines and rituals can be seen as an ‘act of worship.’


We can’t separate the film from Japanese culture, values and traditions. It is a different society – tiny tots are trusted to walk to the railway station in the morning and take the train to school, with no danger.


Our discussion leader suggested the film After Life (1998).  I am sure we will be drawn to reflect on moments of shimmering light on top of trees after seeing Perfect Days.




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Jul 08

"Perfect Days" calls to mind the Japanese Nō theatre where the story is told visually. Slowly, with precision. Rather than being actors who “represent”, as in the Western sense, Nō performers use their visual appearances and their movements to tell the story. Take for example the scene where the niece's facial expressions show that she is taken aback at the sight of her Uncle cleaning a public toilet then shifts, barely perceptively, to indicate acceptance and then to wonder. There is a scene where our hero with just a look and gesture receives permission from the monk's nod to take the seedling appearing at the base of the large maple. He is prepared for the possibility, unfolding an origami paper pot from his…


Jeanne Pope
Jeanne Pope
Jul 07

I found this an astonishingly loving film, meditative and curious. I floated in the sweetness of yesterday, of things we no longer do as much, such as listening to cassettes, going to the communal bath, and taking time to linger long. I loved the images, the back alleys, a less-known Tokyo, and the locations removed from the hustle and bustle. The fusion of the late sixties and seventies music was a lovely layer. Funny, sad, and mostly reflective. Each moment was touched by something so small, yet interesting. I adored the game of O and X's - the thank you at the end from a stranger, who becomes a character without us ever knowing them was tender. I want t…

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