Welcome to the start of an ongoing feature here at The Alt Entertainer in which we have entitled, A Question of Film – bet you can’t guess where we got our name from? The feature will highlight a key concept on whatever film we watch and our thoughts and reactions towards a specific question surrounding that concept.
FILM: Death Notice: Ikigami
QUESTION: What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live?
So, what would you do if you were told you only had 24 hours to live? How would you spend your last living day? Would you be adventurous and work through as much of your bucket list as possible, or would you spend the day in bed with nothing but last nights underwear on working through your Netflix favourites list?
This question takes centre stage in Japanese indie flick Death Notice: Ikigami, a story about how 1 in every 1000 18-24 year old will die from a mandatory nano-capsule injection that will explode at an arranged time. All in the interest of national prosperity, of course. This got the mind alive and kicking as to what on earth one would do knowing that in 24 hours time their existence will be extinct.
Death Notice: Ikigami consists of 3 stories that follow a particular person once the dreaded news is broken to them via the film’s protagonist delivering them the ‘Death Letter’ (Ikigami). The first story follows the last days of a street musician who is on his way to fame, having to face the tough task of the sacrifices needed to be made in order to become a star. Does he neglect his family and friends for a taste of fame in his last few hours, or sacrifice that feeling of greatness to shower himself morally?
Now of course spending time with your family makes the list of objectives during your last 24 hours on this planet. As mentally challenged as Donnie Darko was, even the teen knew what had to be done on his limited time travelling adventure, sacrificing his own life in order to prevent the tragic events that took place had he survived the fallen jet engine.
Now without saying this too loud, in order to prevent myself from being the only 24-year-old to get grounded for 2 weeks I will say this. With only 24 hours to live perhaps you could set some of that time to do something else. Something away from your loved ones to prevent any sibling arguments during your precious time. Only a little bit of time apart, say, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds? I kid of course!
The second story focuses on the suicidal son of a famous politician, who to make matters worse is a supporter of the Prosperity Law concept. Here lays the argument of whether to continue believing in what you have always done, or to give in and forget the differences each of you represent and to focus on more important issues. Like, I don’t know, the fact that in 24 hours time you will cease to exist.
The choice to let bygones be bygones would involve swallowing some pride. It could be that family member you haven’t seen for a few years, or your former best friend you caught red handed, do you continue to live your life or spare them the guilt by making up? Perhaps you think that there’s no need to waste your time on the things that may not even matter and that your final moments are best spent with bigger and greater things.
The final story of Death Notice: Ikigami follows the life of a small-time crook trying to convince his sister to let him cure her blindness by donating his own corneas. This situation brings a whole new element to the thought of your own existence. Whether you tell anyone that it is your last day on earth for that person to spend that day in shock and mourning of the unpleasant news. Some may decide to neglect this motion, to live your day like normal or take inspiration from Karl Pilkington and work on that list of things to do before you die. Let’s just hope you appreciate it more than the Pilko Pump Pants creator seemed to during his trip.
After all of these choices and decisions that have got your brain in full gear, one question remains…what will you do during your final 24 hours?
Words by Matthew Rathbone