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That selection of music makes the film

Melodic Mentorship: Wenders’ Influence on the Music of “PERFECT DAYS”

2023.12.21

#MOVIE

Exploring the Essence of Everyday Minimalism in Tokyo

This film is packed with noteworthy topics, the most notable of which is that it stars the famous actor Koji Yakusho and was filmed entirely in Tokyo. The film is based on the “THE TOKYO TOILET” project, a project to revitalize public toilets in Shibuya Ward with innovative designs.

The majority of the film is a routine depiction of Hirayama’s daily routine. Living in an old apartment in Oshiage overlooking the Tokyo Sky Tree, he wakes up at a certain time every morning and prepares himself in a certain order. After drinking the same can of coffee as usual, he gets into a small van packed with his work gear and takes his usual route to work. Once he arrives at the job site, he carefully and efficiently cleans the restrooms, just as he did yesterday and the day before. During his lunch break, he eats lunch in the precincts of the same shrine every day and captures the light and shadows pouring from the grove of trees with his old film camera. Some of the plants he grows at home seem to have been given to him from sprouts growing on the shrine grounds. He listens appropriately to the chatter of his young colleagues, but he is a quiet man. His colleagues call him eccentric, but on the other hand, he is strangely dependable.

When he finishes work, he goes straight home and immediately heads for the neighborhood bathhouse. He exchanges friendly glances with the old people who frequent the bathhouse, but he is still a man of few words. In the evening, he goes to his usual izakaya (Japanese-style pub) and enjoys dinner over a glass of chuhai. Before going to bed, he reads a paperback book, and when he starts to doze off, he turns off the light and goes to bed. Then he wakes up at the appointed time to the sound of the old woman across the street sweeping the path with a broom. It’s a repetition. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition. On my days off, nothing unusual happens. I do my laundry at the laundromat, send the photos I have taken of the grove to be developed, buy a 100-yen paperback book at a used bookstore, and settle down at a tavern that I only visit on holidays. And that’s it, over and over again. Over and over again.

Koji Yakusho plays the main character, Hirayama. He won the Best Actor Award at the 76th Cannes International Film Festival for this film.

In other words, this is a “minimalism of everyday life” that shows the regular life of a city dweller, similar to Jim Jarmusch’s recent film “Paterson” or Chantal Akerman’s ambitious film “Jeanne Dielmann, 1080 Brussels, 23 rue des Commerces”. Jeanne Dielmann, 1080 Brussels, 23 Rue des Commerces, and others. The rhythm of these non-dramatic, calm, and slow moving images is reminiscent of a series of road movies that Wenders himself once set as a milestone. The subtle stoicism that pervades the entire film and the calm yet warm observation of the seemingly solitary characters also strongly suggest an aesthetic that is common to his works from the 1970s to the 1990s.

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