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Perfect Days – Wim Wenders latest masterpiece

Updated: Apr 15


(imdb)


Perfect Days is the latest masterpiece by Wim Wenders, an almost eighty-year-old German director who gave us iconic films in the 80s such as Paris, Texas or The Sky Over Berlin, legendary documentaries such as Buena Vista Social Club and even some U2 music videos.


This work was initially supposed to be a documentary on the stylish and futuristic public toilets of Tokyo (some designed by famous designers), but in the end the director opted for a film, whose protagonist Hirayama works as a cleaner of these toilet.


The silent and smiling Hirayama lives alone and leads a simple and frugal existence, characterized by an almost obsessive repetitiveness of daily activities, however carried out with great awareness. He wakes up at dawn, brushes his teeth, takes a canned coffee from a machine, takes the van, goes to work, comes home, washes in the public toilets, has dinner in a noodle bar, reads a book of his own library and goes to bed. The weekend adds some variations such as doing the laundry, always buying a book in the same small bookshop, taking photos to be printed, having lunch in a tiny restaurant. it seems that Hirayama does not carry out these activities on autopilot, but with a natural awareness, in which he puts care for himself, for others and for the environment in which he lives first.    When he leaves the house in the morning the first thing he does is look at the sky, (instead of the smartphone) connecting with the surrounding world and spends his lunch break observing the movements of the leaves of the trees, photographing them with an analogue camera and picking small plants , which he then repots when he returns home with great and loving care.


At the end of the film the director reveals to us that what the protagonist observes among the trees is called komorebi, the sparkle created by the leaves swaying in the wind and which exists only once, in that precise present moment.                   

 

In fact, his story seems like an invitation to simplify our lives, to understand how the superfluous often makes us less happy and to be kind whenever possible. Hirayama also teaches us the value of care and taking care of himself: he takes care of himself and his environment, just like the plants he waters every day and the bathrooms he polishes with great attention, as if they were his. The key phrase of the film is the response given by the protagonist to his young niece, when she struggles to enjoy the present and her uncle reminds her with a smile: "Another time is another time, now is now".


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