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This is a beautiful and mournful remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1952 classic, Ikiru. Bill Nighy plays a British bureaucrat who gets a new perspective on life after being diagnosed with a serious illness.

Living is the story of Mr. Williams, an old man who has lived by strict rules all his life, and who values correctness above all else. He is a feared man in the small office he manages and he is called “Mr. Zombie” — a living dead — by his younger colleagues. But after a visit to the doctor, his life is turned upside down. A life-threatening illness makes him take stock of his entire life, and leads Mr. Williams to make a great discovery: He realizes that he does not know what it means to live.

The role of Mr. Williams is masterfully played by Bill Nighy. The film looks and feels like a trip back to the correct and formal London of the 50s, with exciting detours to the big city's underworld. The cinematography and costume design are top-notch, and director Oliver Hermanus teams with Nobel Prize–winning author Kazuo Ishiguro to paint a poignant and warm portrait of the prosaic Mr. Williams. This is a strong film about living while you can, and not least about doing good in this world before it's too late.


Oliver Hermanus (b. 1983) is a South African film director and writer. He worked as a press photographer before graduating from the London Film School. His film Beauty won the Queer Palm Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.


2019 Moffie
2015 The Endless River
2011 Beauty
2009 Shirley Adams

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