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Tokyo Story 1953

NR

Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story follows an aging couple, Tomi and Sukichi, on their journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo. Their reception is disappointing: too busy to entertain them, their children send them off to a health spa. After Tomi falls ill she and Sukichi return home, while the children, grief-stricken, hasten to be with her.

Starring:
Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama
Runtime:
2 hours, 16 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Yasujirô Ozu
Starring Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama
Supporting actors Setsuko Hara, Haruko Sugimura, Sô Yamamura, Kuniko Miyake, Kyôko Kagawa, Eijirô Tôno, Nobuo Nakamura, Shirô Ôsaka, Hisao Toake, Teruko Nagaoka, Mutsuko Sakura, Toyo Takahashi, Tôru Abe, Sachiko Mitani, Zen Murase, Mitsuhiro Môri, Junko Anan, Ryôko Mizuki
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2004
Format: DVD
Like many of Ozu's films, "Tokyo Story" ("Tokyo Monogatari") examines a very simple stage in life, one that I hope most of us will be lucky enough to encounter at some time or another. In this case, it is how we treat our parents once we no longer need them for survival. Are they a bother? Do we resent their old-fashioned ways and slower pace? Are we perhaps a bit too eager to shuffle them to the sidelines?
The story seems so simple, an elderly couple leaves the country to visit their children who have moved away to Tokyo. Country folk meet city folk, age meets youth, life meets death. There are no big blow-ups, no crisis points reached or contrived dramas, just life flowing along as it does. In Ozu's gentle hands, the entire story is told between the lines, with perhaps not a single sentence of direct dialog spoken in the film. Under the calm surface is an ocean of depth, emotions flowing with an unstoppable power, yet never able to breach the veneer of etiquette and politeness.
Ozu's usual cast in at their best. Chishu Ryu plays the father perfectly, flawed and kind, strict in his youth yet lenient in his old age, he is a father-figure more than a father to his impatient children. Chieko Higashiyama plays the kind and appreciative mother, much the same character as in "Early Summer." As always, Setsuko Hara, Japan's "Eternal Virgin," brings light and love into an otherwise dismal story playing Noriko, the widowed Daughter-in-law of Ryu and Higashiyama's son. Setsuko is ironically the only one of their children to appreciate the aged parents, even though she is not a blood-child.
"Tokyo Story" forced me to examine my own treatment of my parents, and consider how I will be treated when it is my time to visit my children.
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Format: DVD
Ozu's "Tokyo Story" is simply the most emotionally profound film I have ever seen. It is the sort of film that, after seeing it, may easily change you. I originally purchased the film because I was incredibly interested in the "Ozu style". There are many aspects of this little Japanese man's style, including shots of nature to break up the story, the tatami mat camera angle, the unmoving camera, and the shooting of characters speaking directly into the camera (which makes it all the more profound, it puts the viewer into the story). Ozu scarcely EVER drifted from this style, therefore it MUST have been quite incredible, for he never had the desire to change it. However, although I was compelled by the extremely elegant filmmaking style, it was the emotional impact that sticks with me the most. The story felt very slow as it unwound, with much of the dialogue feeling very small talk-ish. However, despite the fact I was initially disappointed by this small talk-like dialogue, by the end, I realized this slowness of developement made the end all the more powerful. This ending was so powerful that I was completely in tears for the final half hour or so of the film. This film was SO profound that I felt moved upon viewing it. Near the end of the picture, when one of the daughters stated "Life is too short." I was moved. I felt compelled to go out and live it up, for life IS too short. I also realized that I need to be much kinder to my parents, for they give me so much, and they will not be around forever. As is said in one of the more famous and compelling lines from the film, "One cannot serve his parents from beyond the grave".
You will be moved beyond words by one of the greatest films of all time, Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story"
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Format: DVD
Often voted one of the greatest films of all time, Yasujiro Ozu's most famous film (made in 1953, but not released in the US until years later) follows an elderly couple as they leave their seaside town where they live with their youngest daughter, Kyoko, to visit their two eldest surviving children, Shige and Koichi, in Tokyo, stopping to meet their youngest son, Keizo, in Osaka along the way. Although their children seem to mean well, they are greatly inconvenienced by their parents' visit and do not take time off from work to show them around the city, instead asking their widowed sister-in-law Noriko to squire them about instead; Koichi's young sons treat his grandparents with sullen rudeness. Finally, Shige and Koichi dump their parents off at a hot springs resort not far from Tokyo, where the elderly couple feel out of place. On their return by train home, the mother becomes mortally ill, and the grief-stricken children and Noriko must come bury their mother and must face up to or ignore their previous treatment of her and their father.

Ozu considered his film a melodrama because it dealt more straightforwardly with life's tragedies and with grief than his other family dramas from his famed later period do. The film suggests a fairy tale, or King Lear, in that we, like the elderly couple, are positioned to judge the children and Noriko according to who is least and most filial; yet Ozu requires we see the selfishness of the children and the neglect of the parents in more complex terms. (Though this seems beyond the DVD's commentator, David Desser, whose intelligent technical shot-by-shot analysis of the film seems seriously marred by his willingness to engage in simplistic moral judgements of the characters.
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