Perfect Days by Wim Wenders [9/10]

For me, Wim Wenders movies capture the senses and the mind but rarely cohere into anything distinctly memorable. Perfect Days takes the final step to solidity by reducing the focus to the quotidian and ordinary. With poised cinematography and a steady, reverent pace, Wenders portrays the unburnished daily existence of Hiroyama, a Tokyo toilet cleaner, a man whose simple, spartan life revolves around work, food, reading novels, listening to cassettes of 60s/70s rock music, and taking analogue photographs of a particular tree under which he lunches every day. By seeing multiple days of Hiroyama’s seemingly boring life, we gradually realize he apprehends great beauty in the ordinary, in repetition, in simplicity. Events arise that threaten to rock him out of his unyielding routines and a strange tension captured this viewer, the tension of wishing the man more out of life, at the same time hoping nothing eventuates. The small cast of supporting actors is superb and Kōji Yakusho gives a transcending performance as Hiroyama. Perfect Days is a minor key masterpiece from Wenders, not to be missed.

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