Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari) follows an aging couple, Tomi and Sukichi, on their journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo. Their reception is disappointing: too busy to entertain them, their children send them off to a health spa. After Tomi falls ill she and Sukichi return home, while the children, grief-stricken, hasten to be with her. From a simple tale unfolds one of the greatest of all Japanese films. Starring Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, the film reprises one of the director’s favorite themes—that of generational conflict—in a way that is quintessentially Japanese and yet so universal in its appeal that it continues to resonate as one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces. —The Criterion Collection
Yasujiro Ozu was born in the old Fukagawa district of Tokyo, to a fertilizer merchant, in 1903. In 1923, after a couple of years as an assistant teacher in rural Japan, Ozu was hired as assistant cameraman at the Shochiku Motion Picture Company. Early in his career, Ozu began to experiment with an idiosyncratic film style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese or Hollywood cinema of the day. He strove to reduce and simplify his film style; he cast such mainstays as the fade, the dissolve, and the pan from his cinematic palette. He shot solely from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and he subordinated spatial continuity to visual aesthetics. Ozu directed his first film in 1927,The Sword of Penitence. In 1932, he began to hit his creative stride with the touching comedy I Was Born, But…, which was his first commercial success. During World War II, he made few films such as There Was a Father.
After the war, Ozu reached his creative peak and made some of his finest… read more
Once you get used to the mastery of Ozu's directive style, the real geniality in this film is that certain ambiguity that will make you think about what's right and wrong, what's good and what's bad, or what's really worth in life; if we must take the time to care and love each other (not only our parents) or if we earn the right to be selfish once we become independent adults.
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Que font les enfants pour leurs parents ? C’est un film difficile que ce voyage à Tokyo qui décrit la rupture générationnelle entre des parents, leurs enfants et petit-enfants. Un film construit sur… read review
I remember my first viewing of Tokyo Story in film school at 19 years old. After watching the film I found myself very moved, but I couldn’t explain why (Aside of from the obvious themes of the film… read review
While Ozu’s films can be austere and humanistic, I generally find the narrative of his films inferior to the literary canon from the standpoint of expression and insight. Although film is not literature… read review