Patrick mentions Ikiru, a wonderful film. I remember, when I first sawit, thinking to myself at one point, "I'm watching a movie about an aging, dying mid-level Japanese bureaucrat - and I can't take my eyes off the screen, I don't want to miss anything!"
Patrick's mention of the Japanese film scholar, reminds me of what J.B. Priesley said about Turgenev:
Russian critics, not necessarily Communist, have sometimes complained that Turgenev has been over-valued in the West while other Russian writers, of equal stature at home, have been under-valued or ignored. But we take what we want from each other's literature. Like Chekhov, who probably owes as much to Turgenev as Turgenev does to Pushkin, Turgenev represents a side of the rich Russian character, the gently ironic, tender, vaguely poetic side, that we in the West can most easily understand and enjoy.