Saturday, December 15, 2012

257. Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

I originally watched this film because it was mentioned in one of my favorite books of all time, The Elegance of a Hedgehog.  The main character would frequently rave about Japanese cinema.  I had no experience in Japanese films back then but pretty much took her word for it.  Now, of course, I am obsessed.  All thanks go to The Book!

Anyway, this one disappointed me a bit.  So far, I have not been able to find anyone that makes this comparison so I guess I will be the first to say it.  It is exactly like Make Way For Tomorrow.  Oh wait, scratch that.  I just looked at the IMDb page and it said that the scriptwriter was inspired by Make Way for Tomorrow.  Guess I am not as special as I thought I was.  Sad…

Although Tokyo Story usually listed as one of the greatest films of all time, I am not sure they did it that much better than MWFT.  Not to say this is a bad film, just not astounding.  Ozu's camerawork is certainly creative; it seems like the camera just sits on the ground the entire time of filming, making it seem almost like a documentary.

I guess I have been so impressed with Japanese cinema that this one disappointed me a bit.  I am really selling it short, though.  It is a great film and one that should definitely be watched.  Damn my unreasonably high expectations.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The camera technique I described is called the "tatami-shot".

The film largely sides with the parents.  Ozu lived with his mother for most of his life.


  1. This may be inspired by Make Way for Tomorrow, but it is a lot deeper. I love how we get very close to the characters, both the good and the bad ones, and how much can be said without saying anything.

  2. Hi TS .. I think I agree that this somehow has a bit more depth, without the sentimentalisation, as well as being a better made film..

  3. I actually preferred Make Way for Tomorrow. I had very high hopes for this, for years having seen it rated high in Greatest Movie lists, but I didn't think it had enough content to fill out 140mins of screen time. The most interesting bit was with the daughter-in-law at the end. That might have been an interesting area to explore more.

  4. Yeah 140 minutes was definitely excessive. I've rewatched Make Way for Tomorrow but haven't rewatched this.