Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Cannes 2023

"Perfect Days" is a masterpiece of the cinematographic arts with jewel-like and deeply poetic qualities. It communicates a powerful human story of hope, beauty and transfiguration in everyday life. Through the life of Hirayama, a man who cleans public toilets and lives alone, who loves nature, reading and music, we begin to see that any and perhaps every day can be perfect. Even his dream life inspires us through the black and white depiction of the trembling of leaves. With great dignity, he takes pride in doing his work well, and shows this same respect and care to the children and adults, plants and trees he encounters in his perfect days. In a very understated way we understand that there have been fractures and difficulties in his life, temptations remain. The deep regularity of his life could be seen as boring, yet he also has a playful spirit, finding joy each day in encounters with others, acting as an agent for reconciliation between the generations, taking photos of the ephemeral play of light on the leaves of his friend the tree in his local park. The final incandescent sequence of the film shows a series of deep emotions play across his face in the ever-changing light. A moment of pure grace.