Tokyo Story

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Directors poll
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Tokyo Story

Year: 1953 Country: Japan
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Featuring Chishu Ryu / Chieko Higashiyama / Setsuko Hara

Introduction

The final part of Yasujiro Ozu’s loosely connected ‘Noriko’ trilogy is a devastating story of elderly grandparents brushed aside by their self-involved family.

“Ozu’s examination of the slow fracturing of the Japanese family in Tokyo Story is filled with quiet resignation, a neverending acceptance and the realization that tradition is subject to change.”
Nick Wrigley, sensesofcinema.com, 2003 

The later films of Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu are marked by a striking uniformity of theme and form. These are stories of family life involving inevitable rupture, as things change, daughters marry, widowers grow old. Ozu films this bittersweet natural progression in his unmistakably controlled, minimal style, typified by head-on shots with the camera at the height of a seated observer. Tokyo Story is the best known (in the West) of this extraordinary cycle, a quietly tragic tale of an ageing couple coming to the painful realisation that their family no longer needs them.

Luminous Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays daughter-in-law Noriko. Alhough not the same character as the Norikos she plays in Late Spring (1949) and Early Summer (1951), the films are considered a loose trilogy.

Said to have been an inspiration to Ozu, Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) is a fiercely unsentimental Hollywood treatment of Tokyo Story’s theme.

107 critics voted for this film

Diego Batlle Jorge Jellinek
Geoff Andrew David Jenkins
Inácio Araujo Kim Ji-seok
Luciano Barisone Sheila Johnston
Joslyn Barnes Trevor Johnston
Gabriele Barrera Frank Kessler
Robert Beeson Stuart Klawans
Raymond Bellour Uri Klein
Edward Buscombe Shelly Kraicer
Emilio Bustamante Jay Kuehner
Rolando Caputo Annette Kuhn
Michelle Carey Matthias Lerf
Noel Carroll Xiaoning Lu
Peggy Chiao Marlena Lukasiak
Ian Christie Edwin Mak
Ludmila Cvikova Derek Malcolm
Nevena Dakovic Dario Marchiori
Shane Danielsen Demetrios Matheou
Thomas Dawson Peter Matthews
Flavia de la Fuente Brian McFarlane
Inge de Leeuw Gary Meyer
Maria M Delgado Daniela Michel
Margaret Deriaz Luis Miranda
Andrea Dittgen Luciano Monteagudo
Roger Ebert Adam Nayman
Dimitri Eipides Abé Mark Nornes
Dan Fainaru Karel Och
Andris Feldmanis Sevin Okyay
John Flaus Volker Pantenburg
David Forgacs Stojan Pelko
Christopher Frayling Jaime Pena
Alon Garbuz Ángel Quintana Morraja
Catherine Gautier Kong Rithdee
Andrei Gorzo David Robinson
Julian Graffy David Rooney
Jamie Graham Mohammed Rouda
Ulrich Gregor Tadao Sato
Manuel Grosso Galvan Augusto M Seabra
Evgeny Gusyatinskiy Michael Sicinski
Roman Gutek Jim Sinclair
Báron György Paul Julian Smith
Per Haddal Brad Stevens
Wally Hammond Isabel Stevens
Avinoam Harpak Matthew Taylor
Sandra Hebron Fabio Troncarelli
Liz Helfgott J.M. Tyree
Carlos F. Heredero Udagawa Koyo
Jan Holmberg Maria Ulfsak
Jan-Christopher Horak Tom Vincent
Philip Horne Lucy Virgen
Peter Howell Paul Whitington
David Hudson Judith Williamson
Gráinne Humphreys Jane Yu
Dina Iordanova