Tokyo Story(1953)


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. 


Review by Roger Ebert 
 

‘It ennobles the cinema. It says, yes, a movie can help us make small steps against our imperfections’.
 

Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story" tells a tale as simple and universal as life itself. It is about a few ordinary days in the lives of some ordinary people, and then about the unanticipated death of one of them. What it tells us about the nature of life or death is not new or original -- what could be? -- but it is true.
"Tokyo Story" was made in 1953, or at about the same period that a group of great Japanese films was beginning to make a first impression on Western audiences. The best known are "Rashomon," "Ugetsu Monogatari" and "Gates of Hell." But "Tokyo Story" was not imported at that time, and its current national release represents a kind of posthumous tribute to Ozu.

It is clear that "Tokyo Story" was one of the unacknowledged masterpieces of the early-1950s Japanese cinema, and that Ozu has more than a little in common with that other great director, Kenji Mizoguchi ("Ugetsu"). Both of them use their cameras as largely impassive, honest observers. Both seem reluctant to manipulate the real time in which their scenes are acted; Ozu uses very restrained editing, and Mizoguchi often shoots scenes in unbroken takes.




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TOKYO STORY (AMAZON 2.99)