Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953): Mini-Film Review

Yasujirô Ozu's Tokyo Story (1953) represents an elderly couple's travels from small-town Japan to a bustling Tokyo in order to visit their grown children. Although the film moves slowly, interestingly the same question which drives audience interest across multiple film genres--namely, "what will happen next?"--is relevant for viewers here. In a sense, we (always?) already know the answer, so we can reflect on the images as they appear.

Ozu layers imagery in the film--traditional interior shots are collections of right angles, outdoor shots are comprised of diagonal stair-cases and train tracks, people move across streets and boats slide evenly across still water--contrasting stasis and movement. He is rightfully regarded as a master of the long take, even though his technique seems less noticeable today when compared with directors like Hou Hsiao-hsien--whose Café Lumière (2003) was produced as an homage to Ozu's film--and others. However Ozu, I believe, does not get enough credit for his dialogue, which is yet again evenly paced here. It carries the tenor of a film which is a meditation on inter-generational family relationships and the passage of time. 

Tokyo Story Trailer on YouTube

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