TOKYO STORY
1953

August 15, 2008
Netflix Criterion DVD
Japan
Japanese
136 Minutes — March 13, 1972
Drama
Yasujiro Ozu
#10 They Shoot Pictures Don’t They Top 1000 Films Of All Time

“Solo Filmschool” movies are those on the big list of the 1000 best films of all time, which the crew over at TSPDT keeps track of and updates from time to time. The version of the list I used is from January 2010. My plan is to work my way down the list, watching all of them on DVD (if available), regardless of how slow-moving, or out of date they might appear at first. If a highly-regarded and serious film class is not available where you live, you could do a lot worse than using this list as a jumping off point.

An elderly couple, who travel to Tokyo to visit their married son and daughter, discover that their children have little time for them.

TOKYO STORY was the subject of Cinebanter #58 From The Queue section which is available here.

“Ozu made one of the greatest films of all time. It lacks sentimental triggers and contrived emotion; it looks away from moments a lesser movie would have exploited. It wants not to force our emotions but to share its understanding. It does this so well that I am near tears in the last thirty minutes. It ennobles the cinema. It says, yes, a movie can help us make small steps against our imperfections.” — Roger Ebert The Great Movies II

“In this understated, beautifully composed classic of domestic disillusionment, the editing is unobtrusive and the camera’s gaze is steady; it moves only three times during the film and is kept at a low angle, looking up at the characters. In his formal concentration on everyday family life, Ozu discovers universal truths about the human condition. Here, an elderly couple face the painful fact that they are a burden to their children and grandchildren. But the most devastating comment comes at the end of the film, from their daughter; ‘Isn’t life disappointing’ — Halliwell’s Top 1000

“Bleak, austere and moving family drama of life’s disappointments” — Halliwell’s Film DVD & Video Guide 2007

“Ozu’s vision, almost entirely un-inflected by tics and tropes of ‘style’ by this stage in his career, is emotionally overwhelming, and arguably profound for any engaged viewer; it is also formally unmatched in Western popular cinema” — Time Out Film Guide 2007

“Powerfully quiet story of old age, the disappointments parents experience with their children, and the fears the young have of time passing. A masterpiece.” — Leonard Maltin’s 2005 Movie Guide

The Best Film Of All Time — Halliwell’s
**** Halliwell’s
**** Ebert
**** Maltin

TOKYO STORY

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Written by Michael W. Cummins