This film tells the story of professor Uehida Hyakken-sama (1889-1971), in Gotemba, around the forties. He was a university professor until an air raid, when he left to become a writer and has to live in a hut. His mood has hardly changed, not by the change nor by time.
In the course of his long career, Kurosawa, who died in 1998, made a number of great movies. His last film, ''Madadayo,'' released in Japan in 1993, lacks the narrative intensity of emotional range to be considered among his masterpieces, but within its own modest proportions it achieves a kind of perfection. The story is not much: a retired professor in postwar Tokyo lives out his twilight years in the glow of his former students' devotion and declares his unreadiness to say farewell to the life he lives with humor and gusto. But Kurosawa's absolute assurance as a filmmaker and his unabashed affection for his characters make ''Madadayo'' a richly, and in a way inexplicably, satisfying movie. A. O. Scott
2000-09-01 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Madadayo