Eight of the best films of 2024 so far

8. Perfect Days

You wouldn’t necessarily think that someone who cleaned public toilets for a living had found the secret to happiness, but Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days makes a strong case for the idea. A Japanese-language film from the German writer-director, this hypnotic character study follows Hirayama (Kōji Yakusho) around Tokyo as he carries out his janitorial duties, waters his plants, reads novels, listens to American rock music and takes photos of trees, all with the same quiet diligence and pride. There are hints here and there about how Hirayama’s life has changed, and how it might change in the future, but the core of the film is a documentary-like meditation on the serenity of an existence stripped to its essentials. Also, the public toilets themselves are so well designed that Perfect Days could well turn them into tourist attractions. (NB)

The numbers in this piece do not represent rankings, but are intended to make the separate entries as clear as possible.

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