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Showing 1-10 of 102 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 179 reviews
on March 19, 2017
Aged couple living in a country visits Tokyo to see how their sons and daughters are getting along there. However, they are too busy to welcome their father and mother. A bit disappointed after spending several days there, the old man and wife return home and she dies of stroke…. Slow, but moving. The film well deserves your patience because you will find yourself in the same situaion as they are with their mother passing away, and simultaneously, you will have to share their father's solitude, sadness of bereavement and difficulties of human relationships that anyone is destined to face sooner or later in their lives. This is Director Ozu’s masterpiece leading you to see what you really are, what the family means to you, through which you would recognize the impossibilities of love. In 2012, Sight and Sound, the British Film Institute-issued magazine, ranked “Tokyo Story” all-time best film.

Of many different DVD versions that are available, this Criterion blu ray is the most excellent. The black & white contrast has never been more intense and the sound quality is greatly improved. Now that the 35mm original negative film has been lost, the restoration might be the best ever. Strongly recommended.
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on March 5, 2017
Tokyo Story (Criterion Collection #217) (1953)
D: Yasujiro Ozu
★★★★★

Set in post-war Japan, ‘Tokyo Story’ is a timeless masterpiece with universally recognizable humanity that transcends cultural differences. Almost every character feels intensely personal, unearthing parallels both in yourself and loved ones and serves as a lesson on dealing with heartbreak and disappointment with graceful acceptance. Every single aspect of the film is rigidly controlled, without the need for melodramatic cliches, thus making it stylistically similar to other Ozu works as he continues to explore his favorite themes of familial truths and generational disparity.

Blu Ray review (1 disc)
★★★★★

A great criterion release.
‘Talking with Ozu’ (40min) - A documentary from Shochiku celebrating the 90th anniversary of Ozu’s birth. Features interviews with a number of international filmmakers that talk about their experiences watching Ozu’s films and what makes him a true master of the art form.
‘I Lived, But…’ (123min) - The best feature and documentary on the disc focusing on the life, films and legacy of Yasujiro Ozu. Very insightful and gives you a deep understand of his ethics and life-style.
Chishu Ryu and Shochiku's Ofuna Studio (26min) - Another great documentary on legendary actor Chishu Ryu. He gives us a tour of the old Ofuna studios and talks about his collaborations with Ozu that nearly lasted a lifetime.
Audio commentary with David Desser, editor of Ozu's ‘Tokyo Story’.
Illustrated booklet featuring an essay by critic David Bordwell titled “Compassionate Detachment”
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on March 15, 2017
This was my first experience in seeing a Yasujiro Ozu directed movie. Now, I can understand and appreciate why Tokyo Story has been included as one of the landmark Japanese language films. It is a refreshing change to witness how a movie can maintain the attention of the viewer by having a good story and presenting it with the skills of its actors and camera work. It is not necessary to dazzle the viewer with fancy effects or complicated twists in the plot of the movie. Simple is many times the best and most effective means to convey an emotional feeling to an audience.
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on August 29, 2016
This 1953 Yasujiro Ozu classic is set mostly in Tokyo but the setting could have been any community in any country, such is the film's universality. The plot is minimal - an aging couple journeys from their home near Hiroshima to visit their children in Tokyo, a considerable trek before the advent of Japan's bullet trains. The couple settles in at the home of their eldest son and are visited there by a married daughter who also lives in Tokyo. It quickly becomes clear to us that children and grandchildren are so wrapped up in their own lives that they want the visit cut short. To get the couple out of their house in a conscience-soothing way, the son and his wife shunt them off to a nearby spa-hotel without bothering to find out that its clientele is a younger crowd which loudly cavorts through the night. Deprived of sleep, the couple cuts their spa stay short and returns unexpectedly to their son's home. But when that proves inconvenient to the son and his wife the couple must admit to themselves that they are no longer welcome in their own son's house. I won't go further with the story but will suggest that you not see this film when you are in the mood for uplift - or reassurance about human nature.

On one level the picture is about multi-generational relationships within a single family. But more broadly it can be construed as a portrayal of what human beings are capable of within the larger human family - particularly since the story takes place only eight years after the most cataclysmic event in human history - World War II. Clearly the filmmaker intended a tie-in because we learn that another of the couple's sons perished in that catastrophic era.

Despite all this I am very glad I saw the picture. Like all great art - and it surely is that - the film continues to work on you long after you experience it for the first time. Why? I think it's because of the brilliance of both cast and director. Lesser actors and a lesser director would not have pulled this off. I couldn't recommend this picture more highly.

The film runs 2 hours 16 minutes.
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on April 1, 2010
"Tokyo Story" (1953) by Yasujiro Ozu is about the serene acceptance of the transience of life through a contemplative, compassionate love of the now. Perhaps inspired by the 1937 American film Make Way for Tomorrow (Criterion Collection), Ozu crafts a film that utilizes Japanese aesthetic sensibilities which resonate at the same time with universal themes beginning concretely with family life among 3 generations in early 1950s Japan that then open out and blossom forth to encompass the transcendent mystery in the most immanent of things. One is reminded of William Blake's lines from the "Auguries of Innocence": "To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And an eternity in an hour." Ozu is widely seen by critics worldwide as one of the great Japanese directors along with Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, and this film as his greatest among the 54 films that he made from 1927 to his 1962 An Autumn Afternoon - Criterion Collection. Two other Ozu classics are Late Spring - Criterion Collection and the 1959 Stories of Floating Weeds (A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) / Floating Weeds (1959)) - Criterion Collection;the latter has Roger Ebert speaking his cogent, insightful audio commentary--Wow! Donald Richie, who was a pioneer in bringing Ozu and Kurosawa to the attention of the West, has written Ozu: His Life and Films as well as translated the screenplay of Tokyo Story: The Ozu/Noda Screenplay. David Desser has edited a wonderful collection of essays about Ozu's Tokyo Story (Cambridge Film Handbooks), and Paul Schrader's 1972 Transcendental Style In Film (Da Capo Paperback) about Ozu, Robert Bresson, and Carl Dreyer continues to show us the value of a contemplative "transcendental style" of filmmaking that is all too rarely seen in films of today.

"Tokyo Story" is my 2nd favorite film after Kurosawa's Ikiru - Criterion Collection. We are indeed most fortunate that since 2003 the Criterion Collection not only has restored all of the films mentioned in this review onto DVD, but also has included insightful written essays, audio commentaries, and bonus films with the DVDs. I for one feel most grateful for Criterion's dedication in bringing to us these treasures of world cinema so that they will not be forgotten, but may be experienced by all now.
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on January 23, 2017
This is an extraordinary movie, but not one everyone will appreciate.It is a very simple,low key story, that could be about anyone you know -- and while it is framed in Japanese culture, the themes it presents -- alienation of parents and children, the pain of most ordinary self-centeredness, are themes that are extremely common everywhere. If you cannot find yourself, or your family in this movie, you are probably missing something. Roger Ebert's review, which I read after seeing the movie, is an extraordinary and inspiring endorsement for this movie, which many movie professionals have rated the best movie of all time. I would not go so far, but it is a great movie.
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on August 9, 2013
The films of Yasujiro Ozu were not exhibited in the United States until the late 1960s, though he was one of Japan's most honored and significant filmmakers. This is the Ozu picture most people associate with him, yet it was but one in a long string of films beginning in the 1920s and ending in the early 60s. It was the first Ozu film I saw, in it's initial American run in 1968, and I was disappointed by it. As hard as it is to believe, it left me completely unmoved. Articles about Ozu had really spurred my interest in this man, but my initial experience with Ozu disappointed me. To my American eye, I could not reconcile myself to the uncanny closeups of people speaking their dialogue directly into the camera, as though though directly to us. Also the odd quirks like focusing attention on random objects placed in the foreground against scenic backgrounds, the lack of 'tricks' like fade-in fade-out, tracking shots, wipes and other essentials of film grammar was very disconcerting. The sentiment of 'Tokyo Story' was totally lost on me. I preferred the accessible, recognizable humor of 'Storys' companion picture on my first Ozu double bill, 'Ohayo,' and it was years before I had an opportunity to see 'Tokyo Story' again. Then it hit me like an bulldozer. Each and every gesture in this picture is carefully calculated and carefully laid out, yet the emotion begins to peak at it's own pace, it's own uncanny rhythm. The 'tricks' that I considered so important to move a movie forward were exposed as just what they were, 'tricks,' and the logic of Ozu's universe was making itself known to me. It's a little like revisiting family members who once left you feeling cold and disinterested (like the grandkids in this film feel toward their grandparents), only to come back years later and see them as incredibly loving and human. Perhaps you will have the same reaction to Ozu's films. This is a good place to start.
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on April 26, 2017
Excellent movie of changing times and the widening generation gap. Some previous knowledge of Japanese culture is useful, but not essential.
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on July 27, 2014
If you are a parent, of adult children or young kids, there is a lesson in this wonderful movie. It's companion piece in American movies is MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW. You won't want to miss it either. What rather amazed me about this Japanese version, is how well known they are for worshiping their elders and ancestors. But as the one son realizes too late....you cannot reach beyond the grave to help your parents. Both movies should be required viewing for parents and for adult children. If only we had realized.....the same cry as .... I cannot reach beyond the grave.
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on July 7, 2014
There is no better interpreter of the human heart than Ozu. His films describe the joys and tragedies of life in a real and compelling manner. His simple, at least it appears that way, and beautiful directorial style creates a film worth viewing.
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