After a decade of slow self-education in cinephilia, I’ve finally sat down and watched an Ozu movie.

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These happy folks are travelling to the city to visit their children and grandchildren. It’s implied that they won’t make the trip again, then right after they get home, the wife dies. The kids aren’t very receptive, can’t be bothered to break away from their daily lives and jobs and make time to treat their parents with respect and attention. Their daughter-in-law, though, wife of their deceased son, takes them in, takes time off work to entertain them, and is the one who seems saddest at the wife’s funeral.

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Nicely paced, very well told story. Liked it surprisingly well… figured it’d be an overlong slow-paced thing full of symbolism I don’t understand… but it’s just a modern family story. Apparently all of Ozu’s films are modern family stories, each just like the last, and all just as good. Looking forward to finding out for myself.

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Listened to thirty minutes of the commentary before my burned DVD crashed the computer and I gave up. Remember allll the shots have those low camera angles demonstrated by the cinematographer in Tokyo-Ga. He says something about ellipses in continuity, how actions are implied but not shown and how characters names and positions are slowly revealed instead of being explained up front… viewer has to pay closer attention than usual to figure out what’s happening. Says Ozu’s signature dialogue is “It’s a beautiful day”, said twice in this movie. Setsuko Hara (the daughter-in-law, above) was “one of the genuine superstars of Japanese cinema”. Wenders’ Until the End of the World is a tribute to Ozu (maybe I won’t hate it next time after I’ve seen a few Ozu films). Tokyo Story is sometimes seen as a remake of Leo McCarey’s Make Way For Tomorrow. And Ozu makes “mini documentaries of Japanese middle-class life”.

Katy didn’t watch it. Can’t even guess if she would’ve liked it or not.
EDIT 2015: Katy liked it.

Cameraman Masuoka (played by Shinya Tsukamoto, director of Tokyo Fist, Tetsuo & Haze!) is obsessed with fear. He catches a guy looking terrified in the subway stabbing himself in the eye, and Masuoka is off on a goofy adventure to find out what scared the old man to death. On his way home, he’s often annoyed by a kooky neighbor claiming to be his wife, ranting about how their daughter is missing. Masuoka can’t be bothered with this – he needs to explore the magical subterranean wonderland beneath the city, where he evades monsters long enough to find and rescue a young naked woman, who he brings home. The woman doesn’t respond to much, acts like an animal, etc. Still being harassed by the kooky neighbor, Masuoka finds a way to kill her without being detected. He probably has sex with the young woman too – if he does explicitly, I’ve blocked it out already. Either way, she of course turns out to be his daughter, and of course he murdered his wife and there you go.

The movie is shaky and ugly and lo-fi and annoying all of the time, often being filtered through our protagonist’s unsteady videocams. Except when the guy goes underground and finds his daughter – really nice looking few minutes in there. Not so bad overall I guess. From the director of all seven Ju-On The Grudge movies.

Katy didn’t watch this one. Katy wouldn’t have liked it one bit!

Watched on the night Imamura died. Thought it was the right time to expose myself to a great new filmmaker. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t like the movie.

Dude kills wife. Eight years later, out of prison, opens barber shop. Has pet eel. Girl works for him. Bunch of obvious stuff happens, but not so obvious that I can remember the details two weeks later. That’s why I write in this thing… to write about movies I didn’t like right after I see them, so later I’ll remember why I didn’t like them. Too late now. Oh wait, I remember complaining about a dream sequence when someone jumps out of the water and grabs the dude’s boat and says… something…

Wonderful movie, maybe the best of the Taisho trilogy. Starts and ends very free-flowing, dreamlike… little bit of storyline in the middle there. Suzuki shifts to different scenes and characters within the same shot. Lots of color, flowers, unexplained images. Beautiful.

Man with mustache and large hands apparently likes a girl who’s afraid of old women and cherries. He also likes a german girl with her “hair in the japanese style”. Or maybe they like him, or nobody likes anybody – I was mostly gazing at the flower petals, really. A meddling mustachioed man with a hat and cane threatens everyone with his gun. Maybe some or all of them die by the end of the movie.

Katy didn’t like it and is mad that I made her watch it. Guess I won’t try showing her Yumeji next week.

giving away the ending