• Eric Graham


Tokyo Story

Director: Yasujirō Ozu

Starring: Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama

Genre: Japanese Drama

Yasujirō Ozu created a simple, yet beautiful film starring Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama. I did not enjoy it as the film dragged on at the start, but before I could notice or stop it, I was fully immersed into Ozu’s masterpiece.

Tokyo Story tells the story of a retired couple who travel to Tokyo, wanting to visit their now grown-up grandchildren. It’s followed by a juxtaposition between the behaviour of their own children, who seem too busy to spend much time with them and their widowed daughter-in-law, who treats them with kindness and compassion. The film is about families, our humanly nature and flaws and the never-ending search for love and meaning.

The camera only moves once within the film. This is more than usual for Ozu, as he intends every single shot to have its own perfect composition. All of his shots are framed in a very specific way, since Ozu depends more on the movement from characters and nature than that of a camera. Ozu doesn’t concern himself with eyeline rules in this film and rarely shot over-the-shoulder shots. Ozu has a strategy of placing his camera nearly one meter above the ground (which is the average eye level of a Japanese person sitting on a mat). Ozu seeks to eliminate depth through this technique in his pursuit to create a two-dimensional space.

Considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, Tokyo Story dives into the nature of the human spirit and the nature of families. He tells a story of life, love and nature; a story that every person should enjoy.


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