An ageing couple travel from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo. Their reception is disappointing as the children send them off to a health spa. A survey on the rich and complex world of family life.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
A relentlessly dark poem about the futile and self-defeating results of choosing life over death. A camera was invented to capture objective truth and Tokyo Story, with its fixed pictorial compositions, attempts to capture reality from a somewhat distant perspective, and in doing so it reaffirms the central theme at the heart of all of Ozu’s film - the absolute, intrinsic loneliness of human existence.
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.
In simple and still composition and, not exactly muted, but toned down emotion, Ozu is able to generate slow boiling energy and undercurrents of feeling to evoke great and genuine beauty and emotion. It brings such poignancy and warmth to scenes such as when one of the children breaks down in tears after the old man praises and thanks her. It takes skill to make a film that feels like it earns those moments.