Tokyo Story (1953)


Link: Tokyo Story

Summary: Aging parents visit their adult children in Tokyo, but the changes to Japanese culture in the early 50’s have created quite a generational gap.  The parents are disappointed that their children are not as successful as they hoped they would become.  Meanwhile, the children seem only to be burdened by having their parents as guests.

Thoughts: This is the first film from famous director Yasujirô Ozu that I’ve seen.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get into it.  Ozu’s slow natural pace of storytelling mostly just made me tired, and I loathe his camera work.  Straight-on close-ups, weird confusing 360 degree cuts, almost everything shot at a low angle.  I found it distracting, and it only worked to make the slow-paced story that much more boring.

The over story itself was interesting; I think the emotions the characters go through are universally relatable.  And I like how the characters behaved naturally and believably.  Save for the moments when characters let their emotions affect their behavior directly, many of their emotions are evident only through subtext, keeping (or at least attempting to keep) the viewer engaged.  That said, the slow pacing and boring camera work only seem to work against the story.  That is, if the attention required to understand the characters is too much, the mental effort to stay engaged is only further strained by the pacing, camera work, and mechanical line-delivery, as if the director is just daring your mind to wander off into a confused slumber.

While I may check out some more of Ozu’s work at some point, I must confess that I didn’t find this feature particularly engaging.

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