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If it ain’t a piece from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and his last (in 1993), I would certainly have missed a beautifully crafted film in; “Madadayo (Not Yet)”. 5 years later in September 1998, the world bid their last farewell to Kurosawa. Maybe only having watched this film now, that I truly saw so much of Kurosawa’s filmmaking mastery and how true to heart this film really was. Madadayo brings us on a journey with a retired German teacher through WWII spanning from 1943 to 1960. It’s a film about being retired, what you treasured most in life, relationships and dying. It’s a film that never set any significant highs, just the experience of what happens daily; such as the beautiful passing of seasons, the weird conversations between teacher and students and the love and appreciation they rendered to each other through the building of a new home and the overly long episode of a lost cat, Nora. I can’t help but see Kurosawa sharing his life achievements through this simple film. And when shouted upon "Mahda-kai?" (not yet? in this case literally are you not yet ready to die), you seem to hear Kurosawa echoing back through the main character “Madadayo!” (Not Yet). The last scene ends both and the film and Kurosawa’s career wonderfully, back to a long shot of children playing in the fields at sunset, a young boy finding a place to “hide” (at a game of hide and seek) and shouting backing to his friends “Madadayo” till he’s found a good spot.

This film reminds me very much of Mark Rydell’s “On Golden Pond” (1981). How many films about the golden age truly reflect what it really means? I can’t recall too many. To Kurosawa, I salute you.

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