“The world is made up many worlds; some are connected, and some are not.”


Although Perfect Days is overtly influenced by Ozu (40 years after Wim Wenders made a documentary about the acclaimed Japanese director’s vision of Tokyo), it called to mind Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson in its quiet slice-of-life drama about a manual worker with an artistic mind through which we appreciate his world. Hirayama works as a janitor cleaning public toilets but he also appreciates the world through shadow and light as a photographer, whilst his small home is filled with books and cassette tapes — this an ode to the analogue. With a central character who is thorough, diligent, just, and kind, Wenders set out to create a film about “the common good” he saw as Japan emerged from two years of pandemic lockdown. He wrote the role for Koji Yakusho, who delivers an almost wordless performance, communicating largely through world-weary eyes (much like Irfan Khan in The Warrior). Hints emerge that Hirayama has abandoned a more privileged past, coupled with a recurring ill-focused black and white memory on the edge of his mind. A meditation on lonely life, fleeting connection with others allows Hirayama to re-orientate himself; that, and finding moments of beauty in the world, is enough.