Sunday, August 18, 2013

Movies 101 - Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story – 136min - NR

Yasujirô Ozu’s vision in the movie takes a snapshot of Tokyo changing from one generation to another.  It takes place around one family comprising of grandparents and adult children and grand children. The Elderly Couple, Shukichi and Tomi Hirayama (Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama), travel to Tokyo to visit their adult children but they are caught up in their own lives to pay them much attention. The only one who shows them any kindness is their daughter in-law, Noriko (Setsuko Hara), who was widowed during the war.

While they are there the siblings chip in and pay for a trip to a resort so they can free up the room they are staying in for a meeting.  But the night life at the resort is too loud and disruptive so they come home early. Noriko again steps in to assist the family and invites them to stay with her.  During the long trip home Tomi falls ill and passes away. The family is now faced with going out to the country for the funeral. There the children exhibit different reactions to the death of their mother.  One is very quiet and passive and the other is practical and starts to stake claim to some of the belongings.

Noriko is the only one who shows compassion for father in-law, during this exchange Shukichi says that she is such a good person she should remarry as it would not dishonor the memory of their son.  She insists that she is a very selfish person but her actions have shown different.  She is given a watch that belonged to Tomi as a memento. The end of the movie shows her leaving on the train and on to a new future.

My Take Away:

This movie tells the story of how children grown up and become wrapped up in their own lives and at times leave the other members of their family out of their lives.  There is a scene where Shukichi stays out all night drinking. He and his drinking buddies lament the way their children have turned out.  They are all disappointed with their children’s lives and how they are all forgotten when they start focusing on making their own way in life. 

You can see the focus is different from the country life to the city life.  Elements in the story those shows how different life is lived in each setting, all of the children have moved away. 

This is an excellent example of show don’t tell.  We see how the children act we don’t need long explanations of what they are thinking. Their behavior speaks volumes.  Even Noriko is beautifully portrayed as someone who cares and who is deeply lonely at the loss of her husband, but hold true to his memory.  

This is a story that has a message that does not deliver it in a heavy handed fashion; it’s a sermon that is told in a parable, not thundering from a pulpit.

No comments:

Post a Comment