Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tokyo Story (1953)

Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

Before I learned to use the phrase “It’s like an Ozu film,” I had to string together words like simple, classic, beautiful, and grace; mention themes of life/change and tradition/modernity; and improperly use nouns such as humanity, everyday, and harmony as adjectives.  As I struggled to find a response to a fellow film geek’s review of Tokyo Story, I started watching the film without subtitles—initially on accident—and I realized just how much visual depth and textures (without the distraction of subtitles) were captured by Ozu’s camera.  His films are obvious, told simply and clearly—their methods of storytelling don't obscure its themes so that the audience feels smart for figuring out its meaning (through gimmicks that feign complexity).

Tokyo Story is art at its most humane.  It explores the generational gap between parents and their grown-up children.  Now adults, the children find themselves too busy with their own lives to properly mind their parents who have come a long way to visit them.  Ozu’s films are timeless, not because their stories feel like they could happen today (although, that is also true) but rather they are timeless because it makes the viewer feel as one of their time.

A 200-word review/rebuttal of James Blake Ewing's Tokyo Story review at Cinema Sights
Enjoy: Sense of Cinema on Yasujiro Ozu and articles by Roger Ebert, The Great Movies and on Ozu.
The 4-minute (Criterion Collection) trailer and more screens after the jump...

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