Ikiru is a marvelous film by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa that was made in the early 50's. Kurosawa is best konwn for directing The Seven Samurai. Though Ikiru is not nearly as well known as the Seven Samurai, the screenplay (also done by Kurosawa {as well as some others}) and the directing are exceptional.
Though it may not have been directly intended, the film reflects many of the themes that are presented by existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
Watanabe, the main character of the story holds a high position as the Chief of Citizens Department. Though he is capable of making many important decisions he goes through the day with much drudgery. Through sluggish routine he avoids what Sartrean philosophy calls anguish. Anguish is the realization that since humans exist only as consciousness they are free at any moment to act as they so choose. This means that they are not bound down by the decisions of their past or their projections of the future.
Ikiru deals with other Sartrean themes such as "bad faith". Bad faith is a fluctuation between two states of existence that most people are guilty of. These themes can be seen most clearly in Sartre's play No Exit.