PERFECT DAYS – Review by Diane Carson

Director Wim Wenders strikes gold when he creates an engaging character of integrity and strength, one who doesn’t parade his ego to the world, one who wears his history well, with restraint, without sentimentality, and yet with profound, suppressed pain. This individual takes pride in the most unglamorous job and cherishes the smallest details of his life. Perfect Days profiles a fascinating Tokyo toilet cleaner named Hirayama.

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PERFECT DAYS – Review by Jennifer Green

German director Wim Wenders’ deceptively simple, meditative, Tokyo-set Perfect Days demonstrates a masterful use of what the medium of cinema can offer. By pairing minimalist storytelling with modern settings, ambient sound with a nostalgic soundtrack, and moving images with unobtrusive dialogue and action, Wenders constructs a portrait of one man’s seemingly ordinary life that manages to both scratch away at what it means to be human and ask quintessential questions about what constitutes a life well-lived.

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PERFECT DAYS (TIFF 2023) – Review by Liz Braun

In Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days, a middle-aged man whose life is all about routine, ritual and discipline lives happily in the environment he has created for himself. Hirayama (Koji Yakusho) lives alone and works cleaning toilets in Tokyo, a job he approaches with the same meticulous care and focused energy he devotes to everything else he does. He wakes up each work day to the sound of a local street sweeper, puts his bedding away, brushes his teeth and tends his table-top garden of saplings. Then he puts on a uniform and sets out for work.

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UNDER THE OPEN SKY (TIFF20) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

This film is unambiguous in its status as a social issues melodrama, with all the pros and cons that combination implies. But at its heart is Koji Yakusho’s moving performance. Under the Open Sky may not be the most original film of the year, but it is undeniably touching, due in large part to the combination of director Miwa Nishikawa and actor Kôji Yakusho’s empathy for complex characters.

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