Director: Yasujiro Ozu

136 minutes| Japan| 1953| Subtitled| Black and White| Digital

This film screened 2nd January 2010.

Not without reason did Japanese critics recently vote Ozu’s family drama their nation’s greatest ever cinematic achievement. There’s a sense of inevitability and rightness in this ostensibly ordinary story about elderly parents visiting their grown-up children that’s the province of the truest art. The old couple (Chishu Ryu and Chieko
Higashiyama) venture in from the provinces only to discover their son and daughter are too busy with their own hassled lives to spend much time with them, instead sending them off to a tacky seaside resort for a break. Only the widow (Setsuko Hara, truly radiant) of the son they lost in the war shows any genuine affection, as Ozu’s filmic reserve and his wonderful cast extract every last nuance of emotion from this tale of hope and disappointment. It’s profoundly affecting in a way which makes so many other films seem like cheap baubles. In short, an unmissable classic. Notes by Trevor Johnston

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