Woman of Tokyo

Judith F. Rosenberg is well known to PFA audiences, who have appreciated her sensitive piano accompaniment for silent films for the last five years. She has been artist/lecturer and music director of the dance department at Mills College since 1973.

(Tokyo no onna). This was one of Ozu's “quickies”-something to think about as the film haunts you long after it's over. Against the backdrop of the Depression, a young typist, Chikako, resorts to prostitution to put her younger brother Ryoichi through college; when he finds out, tragedy ensues. Reminiscent, in its theme of women's sacrifice, of the social-realist films that Naruse began making at this time, and Mizoguchi a bit later, Woman of Tokyo could not be more different, because Ozu works melodrama in mysterious ways. In the foreground, a boiling teapot, a policeman's white gloves; an apple Ryoichi innocently peels, so hard won. The screen is a vessel and a plane; things cry, while way in the background, Chikako gamely puts on her evening face. Ozu stops everything for an extended clip from the American film If I Had a Million that, for a minute, crystallizes everything. Then the mystery continues.

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