Sunday, 26 April 2009

Tokyo Story

Dir: Ozu Yasujiro
Starring: Chishu Ryu, Setsuko Hara
Year: 1953

I recently reviewed Chinatown and called it 'bleak'. Some would argue that Tokyo Story is bleak, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

Narry Borman found Tokyo Story to be a very positive film. It shows in quite minute detail how people drift away from each other, even within families, but at the same time, Tokyo Story shows how people come together.

When an old couple visit their children in Tokyo, they are neglected and treated as a nuisance by their son and daughter. The contrast between these two generations is plainly evident: the younger generation are barely human, and have no understanding of what is important. The old couple, on the other hand, are hard-working, likable people, who accept their situation with a smile.

Fortunately, the wonderful Noriko (Setsuko Hara) shows them that not everyone has turned soulless in Tokyo. She's only their daughter-in-law but she looks after them and takes an interest in them unlike their children.

Tokyo Monogatari is positive because of two things:

1. The parents happily accepted the natural circle of life (even death)
2. Noriko showed that good people don't change despite generation gaps (her feelings were always genuine, and she was so much better than the other children, but still really humble)

Anyway, I hate it when people interpret films, so I'll stop there. But Narry found it touching. 'Nuff said.

Ozu's direction is masterful, as always. Every shot is set up like a carefully-studied photograph, and human characters are given the spotlight instead of story, script or settings.


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