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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Timeless, Universal. 不朽の名作 1st Feb 2022

It's the first of February, and I am wishing Chinese friends good luck for their New Year. Actually, I'm told that the 31st Jan. was the day to do this, except if you are from Hong Kong, when 1st Feb. is the big day.


That aside, the film which I recently watched has little or everything to do with China. Or any other country in the world for that matter. This is because it deals delicately and thoughtfully with our relationships with others - more specifically, with family.

Yasujiro Ozu's masterpiece,"Tokyo Story" 東京物語 was made in 1953.

Despite using many techniques learned from Hollywood, Ozu keeps to his personal style, a style that has won this film the astonishing accolade of "The greatest film of all time"by a poll of film directors for Sight and Sound in 2012. Look, I know film buffs are prone to dramatic language, but I would like to see any other films which contest this title. So what's it all about?

Well, on the face of it the story is pretty banal. Elderly parents travel from the provinces to the big city to visit their sons, a daughter and a daughter in law. With touching attention to detail, but without sentimentality, we see the two elderly parents trying to cope with the bustling metropolis and a family that is too busy to really give them time. With one glaring exception - their daughter-in-law, who has recently lost her husband in the Pacific War. She goes out of her way to show the elderly couple around and carves out time from her busy job to make this happen. She has real conversations with them, and we see a heart-warming relationship developing across the generational divide.

Although by today's standards (whatever they are) the film is achingly slow, every moment and every expression is savoured.

Your patience will be rewarded. There are wonderfully moving performances by Chishu Ryu (the father), Chieko Higashigama (the mother)

and Setsuko Hara (the daughter-in-law).

An ideal film for a cold, dark European evening nicht wahr? そですね、But you need time...aha...do you have this?

What more can I say?


Thank you for reading my this blog...........このブログを読んでいただきありがとうございます......... (Web-log to give it its older title). If you subscribe you will not have to get all those emails from me......😁

p.s. If anyone can tell me how to get that little line above the o when typing in rōmaji I would be grateful. Thanks.




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