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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TOKYO STORY (1953)

Sublime. An elderly couple from the country go to see their children in the city. Everyone is meticulously polite/correct, but the children are hitting middle-age, the grandchildren don’t know their grandparents, and no one has the energy or, frankly, inclination to spend time with these mannerly ghost-like intruders. Only their widowed daughter-in-law shares some real pleasure in their company. (Her nighttime scene alone with her mother-in-law is beyond sublime.) A forced trip to a spa, just to get them out of the way, is a particular horror. Often referred to as simple, but touching, there’s nothing simple about either the story or the unique film technique employed here. Others have tried, only to find Yasujiro Ozu's voice & technique to be not just deceptively radical, but sui generis.  He moves in the company of Ernst Lubitsch, Satyajit Ray & Jean Renoir (and who else?), film makers not only masterful, but wise.

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