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"Tokyo Story" DVD Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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The Bottom Line

Universal in theme, humanistic, and accessible, "Tokyo Story" is one of the greatest masterpieces of world cinema. To my mind, this movie’s incredible power comes from its seeming simplicity, which allows emotions to build slowly and subtly, much as they do in real life. It's a mark of Ozu's genius that by the time the film reaches its end, it moves me with a power that feels more like reality experienced than make-believe.

Pros

  • Film is one of the greatest masterpieces of world cinema
  • Universal in theme, humanistic, and accessible
  • Moving exploration of relationship between aging parents and their adult children

Cons

  • Pacing may be too deliberate for some viewers
  • Dramatic tension is subtle, and there may not be enough action for some viewers
  • Quiet, contemplative style of movie will not suit all viewers’ temperaments

Description

  • Two-disc Criterion Collection DVD set containing Japanese-language drama "Tokyo Story" (1953)
  • Movie ranks #5 in 2002 "Sight and Sound" Critics’ Poll
  • Film directed and co-written by Yasujiro Ozu
  • DVD contains feature-length audio commentary by Ozu scholar David Desser
  • DVD set contains "I Lived, But … " (1983), a 2-hour documentary on life and career of Ozu
  • DVD set contains "Talking With Ozu" (1993), a 40-minute tribute to Ozu from movie directors
  • Very good restoration of sound and picture, though quality not quite pristine

Guide Review - "Tokyo Story" DVD Review

Universal in theme, humanistic, and accessible, "Tokyo Story" is one of the greatest masterpieces of world cinema. To my mind, this movie's incredible power comes from its seeming simplicity, which allows emotions to build slowly and subtly, much as they do in real life. I find that there’s a verisimilitude to this film that startles me, even upon repeated viewings. The story: An aging married couple who live in a provincial town travel to Tokyo to visit two of their adult children. But the children have gradually drifted far away from their parents, and the oldsters try to come to terms with what has become of their relationship with their offspring. Still, there is one bright spot for the aging couple during their stay in Tokyo, and that is the brief time they spend with their lovely widowed daughter-in-law. But soon one of the oldsters falls ill and dies, and the family members gather at the ancestral home for the funeral. As the film winds down, I'm almost in tears as three of the characters contemplate their futures. It's a mark of Ozu's genius that by the time the film reaches its end, it moves me with a power that feels more like reality experienced than make-believe.
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