Perfect Days


Dear Roxane,

I hope you’ll forgive me for writing to you and posting on my web site at the same time. As I wrote to you earlier, when you asked me if I’d seen Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days and if so, what I thought of it, I have a screener but hadn’t yet screened the film until your note offered me a final push. It seems that every year, I wind up seeing movies that should have appeared on my ten-best lists well past the polls’ deadlines. And I probably put off seeing this one because of what has seemed so uneven about what I’ve seen of Wenders’ more recent work. In any case, like you, I’ve read no reviews of the film apart from Beatrice Loayza’s in Cinema Scope, and now I’m sorry that I’ve read this one, even though some of its objections seem warranted– like the insistence on keeping piss and shit invisible in the stylish public bathrooms being cleaned by the enlightened hero.

What Loayza seems to miss is precisely what impressed you and me the most: the sheer gorgeousness of the images. I can’t even think of any other film that does more with the color blue (too bad that it couldn’t be cited in William H. Gass’s wonderful On Being Blue), and the mystical dreams and mental images rendered in fuzzy, diaphanous black and white are equally impressive. The photos here only hint at such splendors, yet they count for far more in my book than the hero’s cassettes of what seems like Wenders’ favorite Golden Oldies (even though the very extended closeup of sheer happiness that accompanies the last of these is surely one of the movie’s–and actor Kōji Yakusho’s–clear triumphs). I also admire the way that Wenders renders much of the Tokyo I experienced about a quarter of a century ago. And I’m almost always partial to films whose dividing lines between fiction and non-fiction waver.

All my best,


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