Mortality is examined through the parental lens as an aging couple travel to visit their grown children in Yasujirô Ozu’s masterpiece Tokyo Story.
It’s a fairly simple story, involving a journey forwards and a journey back physically and emotionally. Elderly couple Shūkichi (Chishū Ryū) and Tomi Hirayama (Chieko Higashiyama) travel to Tokyo to visit their four grown children and their daughter-in-law, Noriko (Setsuko Hara), who they have a special relationship with. As the events of the trip unfold, so too does a commentary on age and absence as the parents wrestle with their own mortality among a family unit they created, but no longer seem to be an active part of.
“A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, Tokyo Story is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu.” – Criterion
“Tokyo Story lacks sentimental triggers and contrived emotion; it looks away from moments a lesser movie would have exploited,” Roger Ebert wrote in his review where he called it “one of the greatest films of all time”.” It doesn’t want to force our emotions, but to share its understanding.” Widely considered a masterpiece of modern moviemaking, Tokyo Story broke through at a key moment for Japanese cinema and has remained just as vital thanks to its universal themes, deeply personal melodrama and elevated execution from Ozu.
** – Maria Lewis, Assistant Film Curator **