The film critic David Bordwell refers to Ozu's style as 'calm'; perhaps another word might be 'meditative'? I'm interested to see what you thought of the film, its style and content.



04/09/2009 22:21

I was just reading Wikipedia about Tokyo Story and saw this comment attributed to Roger Ebert:

"... film critic Roger Ebert wryly notes that once in the film the camera actually pans away from a stationary view, which is "more than usual" for Ozu".

Following the Wikipedia link to the original review on Ebert's site, I see that he does, indeed, claim that the camera only moves once in the film.

The point to this is that there are TWO tracking shots in Tokyo Story, not one.

Take that Ebert!

04/10/2009 04:04


Oh how I adore this film. I was reduced to tears in the back of the lecture hall when the Grandmother died. And again when Keizo broke down at the funeral. Really sad. I can't remember the last time I cried in a film. Maybe Watership Down when I was a child.

I blame my lite asian fetish.

04/10/2009 21:21

This film often reminded me of Mon Oncle, in that Ozu takes the interaction between a group of people and layers the supposedly mudane conversation with a greater social commentary. This gave the film this great weight, as if the family stands for something far larger. I found the beautiful Noriko a particularly fascinating character, her apparent self-loathing also extending to the forces that have led her to this condition.

For me, the saddest moment was when the grandparents are sitting on the wall by the sea. Their decision to leave the hotel is so sad, because it reflects that they know they are old, and, in a lot of ways, bereft of a family.

04/11/2009 11:08

I don't know, I thought the film was rather boring. I see your points, there were some touching moments in the interplay of the family, the mother was quite charming and Noriko was painstakingly altruistic. The film was even funny at times, but all that was very thin. The story could have been told in 30 mins. You see, I appreciate slow paste if the story is captivating enough to carry it but here there was just too much bread and not enough butter on it. Surely this film is interesting for an historic to learn about the post war society of Japan, but I want a film to entertain or make me think. We should have watched Ikiru or Dersu Uzala by Kurosawa. These films digged much deeper tracks into my soul.

04/11/2009 14:55

Boring? I guess that's in the eye of the interpreter. Personally, now that I'm - ahem - getting older, I enjoy films that aren't in a hurry to do anything very much. Indeed, I agree that Ozu''s films have a lot in common with Tati's. But one thing I was thinking while we watched it was to do with editing in general, and ellipsis in particular.

It seems to me that editing which removes all the boring bits (i.e.: the function of ellipses) removes also all the life, moving the story from one action-oriented set piece through to another. Ozu's films focus on the bits that other films would leave out.

Of course, there's much more to be said - and I agree - we should watch some Kurosawa. I was thinking of Rashomon. But back to Ozu. I have the other two films that form the 'Noriko trilogy'. Maybe we should arrange a 'triple feature' one day and really submit ourselves to some serious Ozu-time.

04/11/2009 20:05

If we're talking about Kurosawa, I still haven't seen Seven Samurai and it's one of those classic films that everyone has to see so maybe we could watch that at some point, unless everyone else has already seen it...
I did a pretty good drawing of Kurosawa the other day.

04/12/2009 02:39

The slow pace is what's so fantastic about it.

I think I love Ozu's work in the same way I love Harvey Pekar. Normal, everyday, no thrills, life is captivating stuff. There is something greatly compelling about mundanity.

04/19/2009 19:19

yes i've been wondering, can we maybe have double feature screenings? coz there's so many films and so little time to watch them.. people are always mentioning this film and that film, and i often haven't seen them yet.
speaking of watching whole sequels in one day.. it would be funny if we had a screening of the entire 7 sequels and 8 movies of harry potter lmao


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