Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sight & Sound Challenge: Tokyo Story (1953)

Film: Tokyo Story (203/250) 
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

In a way, I'm glad it took me a while to finally get around to seeing this. My experiences with Yasujirō Ozu's other films were preparing me for this one, considered by many to be his absolute masterpiece. Tokyo Story, in fact, was number 3 in the last Sight & Sound poll and has appeared on many other lists of the greatest films ever made. The themes are familiar, the camerawork is familiar, and the actors are familiar (I recognized many of them from other Ozu films). This tender portrait of two elderly parents visiting their children, most of whom are too busy to pay them proper attention, was moving and heartbreaking. I never cried at an Ozu film before this. It made me want to call my mom! This is a perfect example of a minimalist film providing maximum impact. A simple facial expression from the old father (Chishu Ryu, who I adore) can make you weep. An offhand comment can fill you with rage. A quiet room can hold the worries of an entire family. This was a beautiful film, and I'm so grateful to have finally seen it. 

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