Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story is about the gap between generations in a typical Japanese family. It tells a simple, sad story of an elderly couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their two married children, only to find themselves politely ushered off to a hot springs resort. Ozu's technique, as spare and concentrated as a Haiku master's verse, transforms the very banalities of the subject into moments of intimacy and beauty seldom captured on film. As always, the themes go beyond the obvious and are conveyed so gently, so subtly that only afterwards are many apparent - like the idea, so discreetly implied by Ozu's depiction of the plight of the bereft widowed daughter-in-law, that it is best to forget dead loved ones and go on living. Verbalizing Ozu's themes, like trying to synopsize his plots, can be self-defeating. Like the mood of high summer that pervades Tokyo Story, his films register their effects surreptitiously, and initially at a half-conscious level of feeling. They can be seen many times, and should be. Of all his masterworks, Tokyo Story is perhaps most easily accessible to western audiences.

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