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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

Singing about Light and Music that Connects the “World-Encompassing”

Let’s listen to the music in this film again. There is one thing you will notice. The music in the film sings about the light of day: dusk, the morning sun, the lazy afternoon sun, and the light of dawn. The Animals “House of the Rising Sun,” which opens the film, Otis Redding “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay The Animals “House of the Rising Sun,” which opens the film, Otis Redding “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” The Kinks “Sunny Afternoon,” and Nina Simone “Feeling Good,” all of which sing of the subtleties of sunlight in their own way. It is no mere coincidence that the songs “Dock Of The Bay,” “Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks, and “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone all sing about the subtleties of sunlight, and that the sunrise, sunset, and sunset motifs are repeatedly shown in the film. The colors appear only when the sunlight shines through the grove of trees swaying in the wind. Or the overlapping shadows created by the sunlight and the shades of gray they depict. These motifs, which appear again and again in the film, are the light that Hirayama and the other characters are exposed to, and they overlap with the shadows cast by their respective figures. This theme of celebrating light and shadow can be taken as an unconditional affirmation of the art of cinema. When we realize this, we are once again in awe of Wenders’ earnest auteurism.

The “personal” sound of the music that adorns the film not only brings an intimate and private touch, but also, like the sunlight shining on Hirayama and his friends, immerses and intersects the people present, and more specifically, the film itself and our ears and skin as viewers.

When Hirayama listens to a Patti Smith cassette tape with the young people in the car, or to a Van Morrison cassette tape with Nico, the music certainly functions as something more than an intermediary that connects and melds the worlds of each ring. When Hirayama listens to The Kinks while cleaning his room by himself, or when he listens to Mama’s songs at his favorite izakaya (*), our ears and bodies are certainly immersed in the music, and our minds are unavoidably kidnapped onto the screen.

* The mama is played by Sayuri Ishikawa, and the regular customer who accompanies her on the guitar in the same scene is played by Morio Agata. The song “The House of the Rising Sun” is sung in Japanese by Maki Asakawa.

At the end of the film, after an unexpected encounter the night before, Hirayama looks up at the sky with a fresh face as usual and gets into a blue van. Today he chooses a cassette tape of Nina Simone. She sings powerfully with all her heart.

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feelin’ good

The film shows Hirayama’s face, which is full of laughter and tears. What a powerful final scene. There is no pedantry or hesitation here. In this scene that closes the film, Wenders expresses his complete trust in the power of music. As someone who has been deeply fascinated by the experience of “listening to Wim Wenders’ choice of musical gems,” I am most strongly moved by this above all else.

PERFECT DAYS

Roadshow on December 22, 2023 (Fri.) at TOHO CINEMAS Chante and other theaters nationwide
Director: Wim Wenders
Screenplay: Wim Wenders, Takuma Takasaki
Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto, Yusa Nakano, Aoi Yamada, Yumi Aso, Sayuri Ishikawa, Min Tanaka, Tomokazu Miura
Distributor: Bitters End
©︎ 2023 MASTER MIND Ltd.
https://www.perfectdays-movie.jp

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