starring Kôji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto, Arisa Nakano, Tomokazu Miura
written by Wim Wenders, Takuma Takasaki
directed by Wim Wenders
by Walter Chaw Hirayama (Kôji Yakusho) notices little things. Like the sunlight dappling the trees. Or the doomed sproutling, too close to its mother to survive, pushing its way out of the ground. He gestures at the park's caretaker, asking if it would be all right for him to rescue the plant, and carefully transplants it to a piece of newspaper he's folded into a cup. Hirayama works for Tokyo, cleaning its network of public toilets. He listens to his collection of '60s and '70s music on cassette tapes in his municipal van--dark blue, same as his jumpsuit, the colour playing counterpoint to The Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes," which provides the soundtrack for our first ride home with him during magic hour. (I have to imagine the character of Niko (Arisa Nakano) was not accidentally named.) Once he returns to his spartan flat, he plants the sapling in a pot and puts it in a room full of its spiritual brothers and sisters at various stages of thriving. Hirayama goes to his favourite restaurant stall in the subway, then a bathhouse, where he soaks and listens to other men converse. Then it's off to bed reading Faulkner. The first lesson of Wim Wenders's Perfect Days is that it is possible to live a full and beautiful life, at least for a while, in a small space: watered, fed, warm, cared for...and wanted, though it isn't clear at first that anyone is thinking about Hirayama.