In Wim Wenders' world, 'Perfect Days' do exist

In Wim Wenders' world, 'Perfect Days' do exist

The world is made up of many worlds; some are connected and some are not.

The importance of embracing the present moment. Appreciation of the hidden beauty in things. Finding joy in the simple everyday experiences that bring smiles – the sunlight filtering through the leaves in the local park. Cherished books, mixtapes and film photographs. A neighbor's lighthearted laugh. Forgiving gestures toward a bothersome colleague. Tending to your plants, savoring your morning coffee, and enjoying your usual evening spot.

All these small things - that aren't small at all - are on the spotlight of the new feature film by Wim Wenders. 

Perfect Days (2023) dir. Wim Wenders

Perfect Days, written by Wim Wenders and Takuma Takasaki, is a combination of four short stories unfolding in the quiet and simple life of a Tokyo Toiler cleaner, Hirayama. Koji Yakusho, one of the most acclaimed Japanese actors and winner of the Best Actor award at Cannes 2023, is a perfect depiction of the man that is Hirayama from the moment we see him appear on screen. A quiet, simple man, without any obvious rush among the running world around him. He wakes up, brushes his teeth, waters his plans and gets ready to go to work, always following his daily routine. 

Occasional encounters between Hirayama and his collegue and his wanna-be girlfriend, toilet's visitor and a woman at the near park, act as happy little moments of respite in his otherwise very lonesome world. Wenders is well-known for his music taste and his evelasting love for road movies, and Perfect Days is no different. Alongside with Hirayama, we travel between the highways of Tokyo, while listening to one of the most memorable soundtracks for years to come. I mean...listen...

I'm unsure if I've encountered a movie with such deep significance without challenging its necessity. In the ordinary aspects of life, everyone discovers their personal reflection. Mundane routines, forming a sequence of daily existence, may seem insignificant, yet they are the true essence of humanity. 

Wenders skillfully captures, even in this digital era, the essence of a well-written book, the desire to witness the morning sun, and the distinct quality of the tape playing your favorite song, drawing analogies that resonate with these timeless experiences.

In each Wim Wenders film I've seen, a common thread is the enduring sense of connection to his characters. His unique approach to photography creates a simultaneous feeling of being both within and outside the film. Additionally, he skillfully weaves together compelling narratives that leave an indelible mark on the viewer, seamlessly uniting all elements to each one of his stories.

Perfect Days (2023) dir. Wim Wenders

| Spoiler Note |

I've read on IMDb an amazing Perfect Days trivia and I can't help but sharing it here as well. 

In a 2024 interview with The Progressive, Wim Wenders revealed the secret backstory of Hirayama, played by Koji Yakusho:

"I gave it to [Kôji Yakusho] Hirayama, so he could read it. So he would know. But other than that, I figured people would have to put it together on their own. I'll give you this much: He was a businessman and he was rich and he was unhappy and he was drinking a lot and his life was going down the drain.

One morning he wakes up in this crummy hotel room, doesn't even know how he got there, doesn't even know if he had sex or whatever happened. He thinks his life is shit, and he doesn't like it. He actually plays with the idea of ending it. Then, miraculously, early in the morning, there's this ray of sunlight appearing on this wall in front of him. And it falls through the little tree in front of the window.

There is this play of leaves and sunlight and shadows moving, and he looks at it and stares at it and he starts crying, because he's never seen anything so beautiful. He probably has seen it, but he hasn't noticed. Then he realizes that's the answer to his existential crisis, to become somebody who notices that. He gives up his expensive car, his business job and becomes a gardener and eventually, the guardian of these toilets, because they're all in little parks. Somehow, they found Hirayama as the ideal character to take care of them.

That was the backstory."


Main Photo Credits: Perfect Days (2023) dir. Wim Wenders | via Mubi
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