Tokyo Story: A Deeply Personal Movie

Tokyo Story: A Deeply Personal Movie

Posted by M. Kagamizu on 2nd Jun 2024


"Tokyo Story" holds a special place in my heart among the countless films I've watched. Its profound exploration of family dynamics and societal change and its unique directorial style make it one of my all-time favorites.

Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari) is a masterful creation, a testament to the unique directorial style of Yasujiro Ozu. Released in 1953, this film is a blend of unpretentious storytelling, profound personal narratives, and visually stunning cinematography.

This movie is a narrative of deep contrasts, a clash between the old and the new. It delves into the notion that old values, once the source of happiness and harmony, are now inadequate in the face of modern consumerist culture. This film, directed by Ozu, does not offer a definitive answer, but rather, it poses thought-provoking questions about societal change and personal values.

Ozu tells a simple story of an elderly Japanese couple visiting their middle-class children in the city. It is a tale of change, disappointment, and a dignified yet misplaced sense of acceptance.

As a director, Ozu always believed in the simplicity of the art. Tokyo Story hides great depth beneath a simple facade like a Japanese haiku. The plot is uneventful: the parents arrive to discover that their grown-up children have no use for their presence. Indeed, the only person who seems pleased to see them is their daughter-in-law (played by Setsuko Hara), whose husband died during the war.

Subtle Storytelling and Powerful Performances

What makes Tokyo Story so great is how Ozu invites us to observe what’s occurring beneath the surface of the drama. Sketching the parents’ calm yet touching relationship with each other, their disappointments, and their sense of aging, Ozu paints a dark image of everyday existence and grinding acceptance.

The film features stellar performances from a talented cast. Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama play the elderly couple with profound subtlety and grace. Setsuko Hara delivers a memorable performance as the dutiful daughter-in-law, Noriko. The cast’s nuanced acting contributes significantly to the film’s emotional depth and realism.

A must see.