Tokyo Story (1953)

 

Film critic Roger Ebert once stated, "Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu." Director Yasujirô Ozu has created some of the most gentle and poignant stories I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing within the cinema, such as the universal themes of family, growing old and the acceptance of change; and Tokyo Story is the greatest film to express such themes. Tokyo Story tells the story of an aging couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children, but during their visit their children make very little time for them. Most of Ozu's films are primarily focused on domestic family life, with many of its stories usually revolving around weddings and fathers trying to wed off their daughters, because in the Japanese culture it was inappropriate for a daughter to be a certain age and still not be moved out and married. And yet, for years Ozu remained unknown abroad, chiefly because decision-makers considered him 'too Japanese' to be exported. To me, Yasujirô Ozu is the most fascinating of all film directors, because even though most of his films focused on family, marriage, children and weddings, Ozu himself was a bachelor and lived with his mother his entire life, sadly dying alone months after she died. Ozu's style is very legendary because many believe he didn't have any style at all. Most of his shots were low and stationary shots and his visual strategy was very simple; which some critics consider profound. His camera is usually three feet above the floor and he almost never moves it. Every single shot has an intended composition and the only movement you see in most Ozu films is characters walking in and out of rooms, not the camera itself. Like all of Ozu's films, Tokyo Story's pacing is slow or as critic David Bordwell prefers to describe it as "calm," and his narrative strategies are fascinating because important events are often not shown on-screen, only slightly revealed later through dialogue. For example, in Tokyo Story, Ozu does not depict the mother and father's journey to Tokyo at all. Throughout the years children grow up, move out, and eventually move on with their own separate lives, and Ozu greatly understood this.

Tokyo Story was originally inspired by the classic American film, Make Way for Tomorrow, directed by Leo Mccarey, which was a story that must have greatly touched Ozu, that he became inspired to make his own Japanese version of that story. And yet what makes Tokyo Story even more poignant is the idea that a person that isn't blood-related could become much more loyal and loving towards you than members from your own family. Throughout the years Tokyo Story has touched so many people that it is now looked at as one of the greatest films in the world, usually ranked next to such acclaimed films as Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, Orson Welles Citizen Kane, Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thieves, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, and Jean Renoirs The Rules of the Game. Legendary critic Roger Ebert once wrote: "Ozu made films that have the power to emotionally move audiences everywhere. A year ago, for example, I showed his masterpiece Tokyo Story to my film class, and heard people crying in the darkness. No newer, more 'modern' film, has had that effect in the class over the years."

 

PLOT/NOTES

The film opens with a train passing over a small town as the next shot shows two elderly parents Shukishi (Chishu Ryu) and Tomi Hirayama (Chieko Higashiyama), who live in a small house in the southwest part of Japan in the town of Onomichi. The only one who lives with them is their youngest unmarried daughter Kyoko. Shukishi and Tomi are excited because they're going on a trip to visit their children who now have families of their own in the big city of Tokyo.

Shukishi says to his wife that they will pass Osaka around 6:00 that night. Tomi adds their son Keizo will be off to work by then. Their daughter Kyoko walks in to wish them farewell and that she's off for school. Once Shukishi and Tomi both leave on a long day journey and arrive to Tokyo, Ozu shows cuts to a 'pillow shot' which are a series of shots of the city with smoke, banners in the wind, clouds, empty streets, small architectural details, and clothes hanging on a line.

Once Shukishi and Tomi arrive at Koichi and Fumiko's house they quickly feel like a nuisance. The eldest son Koichi, is a pediatrician and he and his wife Fumiko have two young boys, and their daughter Shige works in a hair salon. "I just hope we're not inconveniencing you," Shukishi tells them. There is a sad scene when the two grandparents are introduced to their two young grandsons. "These are your grandparents," Koichi's wife Fumiko tells her oldest son and then turns to her mother-in-law, "Minoru is a junior high school student."

It's obvious the grandparents haven't really seen their grandchildren until now, and the kids rudely run and leave towards their room. The children want to spend time with their parents, but they are so busy with work and their children, it's hard to make the time. Koichi tries to plan a day with them but it is suddenly cancelled because he has to see a patient. His two children are used to this and the older one causes a hissy fit.

The youngest one decides to take a walk with Tomi and theirs a touching scene where she says to him, "What are you going to be when you grow up? A doctor like your father? By the time you become a doctor, I wonder if I'll still be here."

Later that day the only one willing to spend time with Tomi and Shukishi is the couple's widowed daughter-in-law, Noriko, (Setsuko Hara). She goes out of her way to spend time with the two of them and takes them both on a great sightseeing tour of metropolitan Tokyo, and the three really connect and bond.

That evening she takes them back to her apartment in which her roommate respectfully leaves to leave the three of them alone to chat. They talk about their son Shoji which was Noriko's husband; who was killed eight years ago during the Second World War. When serving Shukishi sake Noriko can tell he enjoys drinking and Tomi tells her how when Shukishi was younger he would get mad when the sake would run out and how she hoped her boys wouldn't become drinkers.

When they ask Noriko if Shoji liked to drink, Noriko says he did; in which the two grandparents discover it was a serious problem in Noriko and Shoji's relationship. "Then you had as much trouble as I did?" Tomi asks. Noriko says, "Yes. But now I miss it." Tomi replies, "he lived so far from us. I feel as if he were still alive somewhere."

Later on that day when Tomi and Shukishi return to Koichi and Shige's place the children find their parents a nuisance because of their busy lifestyles, and don't want them to be sitting in their house doing nothing while they're busy; so they come up with an idea to send them both to a cheap hotel at a hot springs spa in Atami. Shukishi and Tomi try to relax there and during the morning Shukishi says to Tomi, "We've cost them more money. Let's get up early in the morning and take a walk along the beach."

That night the two of them have a hard time sleeping because the place is full of busy young people who are on the floor above them throwing a party, playing loud music and cards; staying up all late. Tomi says to Shukishi, "It's awfully lively, what time is it now?" T

he next morning Tomi and Shukishi are both sitting near the waters of the beach watching the busyness of Tokyo; with Shukishi saying, "This place is made for the younger generation." When Shukishi says how she wonders what Kyoko is doing at home now, Shukishi says to her, "Let's go home. We've seen Tokyo." Suddenly Tomi feels dizzy while standing up from the ledge. Shukishi believes it's because she didn't sleep well the night before, but it's sadly a foreshadowing to what happens later in the film.

When she feels better the two eventually go back early to Koichi and Shige's place, with Koichi and Shige not very delighted about their parent's unexpected return. So, the children decide for Shukishi to stay with Shige and visit some of his old friends while Tomi can go spend some one-on-one time with Noriko again. Before they separate Shukishi and Tomi look at the big city of Tokyo and Tomi says, "If we got lost, we'd never find each other again."

The scenes between Shukishi and his old war friend and Tomi with Noriko, are two of the most touching scenes of the film. Noriko is so willing to spend time with her mother-in-law that she leaves work early to see her. When together, they have a touching conversation about Noriko's dead husband Shoji and before going to bed Tomi smiles and says, "What a treat to sleep in my dead son's bed." Tomi pauses for a moment and then says, "Noriko, forgive me if I'm rude...but it's been eight years since my son's death, yet you still keep his photo here like that. I feel sorry for you because your young. Should you have the chance, please get married anytime you want. I mean it. It pains us that you won't remarry. You had more trouble than happiness after marrying him. I know we should have done something for you. You should have had a better life. You may be happy while your still young but as you become older...you'll find it lonely." Noriko smiles and says, "I won't get that old, so don't worry. Good night than." During the night Noriko hears Tomi quietly crying herself to sleep.

While Shukishi is out visiting some old friends they get drunk drinking sake, talking about the past then complaining about their lives and all of the disappointments of their children. One of his friends lost both of his son's in the war and says, "I often wish at least one of my sons were alive." His other friend replies, "To lose your children is hard, but living with them...isn't always easy, either. A real dilemma." While drunk one of Shukishi's friends tells him, "I think you're the luckiest one of all. With sons and daughter's to be proud of. I'm afraid we expect to much of our children. They lack spirit. They lack ambition." Shukishi says, "However, until I came up to Tokyo, I was under the impression that my son was doing better. But I've found that he is only a small neighborhood doctor. I know how you feel. I'm as dissatisfied as you are. But we can't expect to much from our children. Times have changed. We have to face it."

After a night of heavy drinking there is a slightly humorous scene where Shukishi drunkenly brings home one of his friends to Koichi and Shige's house in the middle of the night. Shige is very angry at her father for coming home drunk saying to her husband, "He used to drink all the time. Used to come home dead drunk, upsetting mama. But he stopped drinking after Kyoko was born. He was like a new man, and I thought that was great. Now he's started again."

The next morning Shukishi and Tomi being dissatisfied with the time spent with their children both decide it's time to finally leave and go back home. Koichi, Shige and Noriko take them to the train station. Shige asks if Shukishi's headache is gone from the other night and tells him that she hopes that it taught him a lesson.

Shukishi tells her "Last night was an exception. A reunion, you know. You've been very kind to us...all of you. We enjoyed our trip." Tomi tells everyone, "Now that we've seen you all, you need not come down, even if anything should happen to either one of us. We live to far away." Shige tells her mother to not talk like that and that this isn't a farewell.

Before heading directly home Shukishi and Tomi decide to stop and see their youngest son Keizo at Osaka who they haven't gotten the chance to see yet, but during the train ride there Tomi becomes ill. Keizo is at his job telling a co-worker how his mother gotten travel sickness and she had to be taken off the train. When his co-worker hears this he tells Keizo, "Take good care of her. Be a good son while your parents are alive."

Shukishi and Tomi are staying at their son Keizo's until Tomi feels better to leave. They are happy that in ten days they got to see all their children. Shukishi tells Tomi their children have changed. He says, "Shige used to be much nicer before. A married daughter is like a stranger." Tomi says Koichi has changed too and how he used to be a nice boy." Shukishi tells her, "children don't live up to their parents expectations. Lets just be happy they are better than most. We should consider ourselves lucky."

A few weeks later all the children are receiving several telegrams from Onomichi saying that Tomi is dying. When Noriko gets the news she quickly leaves her job and travels to Onomichi to be beside her mother in law. Koichi, Shige and Noriko discuss how serious it sounds before they all decide to finally head down to be with their mother. All the children finally arrive in Onomichi except for Keizo. Shige asks, "where's Keizo? He's so late. Did he answer the telegram? But he lives the closest of all."

Koichi pulls his father aside and says that Tomi might not live through tomorrow. Shukishi says, "so...this is the end." Tomi dies the next morning and when Keizo finally arrives, he's too late; explaining he couldn't get there in time because he was out-of-town on business.

After the funeral, everyone's having dinner while Shukishi is resting and Shige starts talking about how she wishes father would have died first because when Kyoko marries; he will be all alone. She then rudely starts asking Kyoko about her mother's personal clothing and asks if she could take them home with her.

Later that day Koichi, Shige and Keizo decide they have to leave immediately because they have to get back to work the next morning leaving only Noriko to keep their father company. After they leave, Kyoko has to head to school and thanks Noriko for staying longer and complains to her about her brothers and sisters:

"I think they should have stayed a bit longer."

"But they're busy."

"They're selfish." Demanding things and leaving like this."

"They have their own affairs."

"You have yours too. They're selfish. Wanting her clothes right after her death. I felt so sorry for poor mother. Even strangers would have been more considerate."

"But look Kyoko. At your age I thought so too. But children do drift away from their parents. They have to look after their own lives."

"I wonder...I won't ever be like that. Then what's the point of being family?"

"But children become like that...gradually."

"Isn't life disappointing?"

"Yes, it is."

After Kyoko leaves for school, Noriko informs her father-in-law that she must return to Tokyo that afternoon. The most emotional scene of the film is when Shukishi tells Noriko how great she has been toward him and Tomi. "Mother told me how kind you were to her when she stayed at your place. She meant it. She told me it was the happiest time in Tokyo. I want to thank you too. She was so worried about your future. You can't go on like this. I want to see you married as soon as possible. Forget about Shoji. He's dead. It hurts me to see you go on living like this. I mean it. She said she'd never seen a nicer woman than you. It's strange...We have children of our own, yet...you've done the most for us...and you're not even a blood relative."

Because of her kindness to Tomi and him he gives her a watch that was from Tomi, and advises her to one day remarry so she can be happy again; and Noriko starts crying. Noriko say's she's not as great as they think and that she's quite selfish herself; and doesn't think of her dead husband Shoji as much as they think she does.

Yasujirô Ozu usually ends his films with speeding trains or lonely spouses. At the end of Tokyo Story he has both; as Noriko is on the train heading back to Tokyo holding Tomi's watch with tears in her eyes, the train speeds from Onomichi to Tokyo; as she leaves behind Kyoko and Shukishi to take care of each other. Shukishi's neighbor comes by after Shukishi's children head back home to their families. His neighbor gives Shukishi her condolences and Shukishi says to his neighbor, "Oh, she was a headstrong woman--but if I knew things would come to this, I'd have been kinder to her." Shukishi is all alone now; and he states to his neighbor that being alone he feels the days will get...very long.

 

ANALYZE

When Tokyo Story was released in late 1953, Western audiences were just being exposed to Japanese cinema. Akira Kurosawa had made his breakthrough with Rashomon three years earlier, and Kenji Mizoguchi was moving to the forefront of the international festival scene. In 1955 Teinosuke Kinugasa’s Gate of Hell would win two Academy Awards. The time would have been ripe for a very different sort of Japanese film to arrive on the global stage. Yet Ozu remained unknown abroad, chiefly because decision-makers considered him “too Japanese” to be exported.

Although other Ozu films were shown sporadically in Europe and the U.K., it was Tokyo Story that broke the barrier. There were screenings here and there in the mid-1950s, an award from the British Film Institute in 1958, and screening programs organized by Donald Richie and other enterprising programmers. Then it opened in New York in 1972, coinciding with the publication of Paul Schrader’s Transcendental Style in Film, and it won the hearts of influential critics. When Richie’s Ozu was published, two years later, critics came to realize that this quiet filmmaker was one of cinema’s finest artists. In the 1992 and 2002 Sight and Sound international critics’ polls, Tokyo Story was ranked as one of the ten greatest films ever made.

The capricious way in which this film entered world film culture might make us suspect that its success is accidental. Surely Late Spring (1949) and Early Summer (1951), to cite only two examples, are no less excellent? Ozu himself hinted at a reservation: “This is one of my most melodramatic pictures.” Yet Tokyo Story turns out to be a remarkably replete introduction to his distinct world. It contains in miniature a great many of the qualities that enchant his admirers and move audiences, no matter how distant, to tears.

There is, first of all, the mundane story. Ozu and his scriptwriter, Kogo Noda, often centered their plots upon getting a daughter married, a situation around which an array of characters’ lives could be revealed. But Tokyo Story lacks even this minimal plot drive; it carries to a limit Ozu’s faith that everyday life, rendered tellingly, provides more than enough drama to engage us deeply. An elderly couple leave the tiny town of Onomichi to visit their children and grandchildren. Inevitably, they trouble their hosts; inevitably, they feel guilty; inevitably, the children cut corners and neglect them. In the course of the trip, the old folks become aware of both the virtues and vanities of their offspring. On the train ride home, the mother is stricken, and shortly thereafter, she dies.

This arc of action conceals a strong and cunning structure. After leaving their youngest child, Kyoko, behind, the Hirayamas are shown visiting their children in descending birth order. First they stay with Koichi and his family, then with Shige and hers, then with Noriko (who married their third-born child), and finally with young Keizo in Osaka. Offscreen, they have visited Keizo first en route to Tokyo, but Ozu and his scenarist, Yoshikata Yoda, portray only their stopover during their return trip—partly to allow us to form expectations about how hospitable their youngest son will be, but also to respect the family-tree structure. (Ozu had experimented with this device in his first extended-family film, Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family of [1941].)

This patterning would seem overneat were it not carefully buried in a wealth of details of gesture and speech, from the frantic energy of the grandsons (one whistles the theme from John Ford’s Stagecoach) to the plaintiveness of the elderly fathers fretting over their sons’ failures. Again and again, personality emerges through concise comparisons. The businesswoman, Shige, is hardheaded enough to pack a funeral kimono for the trip home, but it never occurs to Noriko that Tomi will die, so she is unprepared. Who can say which woman is the more virtuous? Jane Austen, Anton Chekhov—these are the artists who come to mind when we confront a story told through such tactful revelations of temperament and states of mind. Yet there is nothing mild about Ozu’s tact; it acquires a stringent poignancy. “What a treat,” reflects Tomi, “to sleep in my dead son’s bed.”

Tokyo Story also exemplifies Ozu’s unique style—low camera height, 180-degree cuts, virtually no camera movements, and shots linked through overlapping bits of space. In dialogue scenes Ozu refuses to cut away from a speaking character; it’s as if every person has the right to be heard in full. Other films use his distinctive techniques more playfully, but here he seems chiefly concerned with creating a quiet world against which his characters’ personalities stand out.

The same delicate poise emerges in a refusal to tilt the scales. It would be easy to sentimentalize Shukichi, for instance, but when he staggers back drunk from his reunion, Shige remarks how he’s reverted to his old ways. The implication is that his carousing once caused family problems. (This resonates after Tomi’s death: “If I’d known things would come to this, I’d have been kinder to her.”) The warm-hearted Noriko confesses to forgetting occasionally about her dead husband, measuring herself against a cruelly high standard. Likewise, most of the siblings aren’t deeply selfish, just preoccupied and caught up in the lives they have made for themselves. Even Shige, whom Western viewers are inclined to censure, surprises us with her sudden, copious, utterly sincere burst of tears at her mother’s death; and her harsh edges are mitigated by the fact that she’s played by Haruko Sugimura, one of Japan’s most beloved female performers.

Thanks to Ozu’s compassionate detachment, the final scenes take on enormous richness of feeling as we watch characters contemplate their futures. Noriko smilingly tells Kyoko that “life is disappointing”; Shukichi assures Noriko that she must remarry; the neighbor jovially warns Shukichi that now he’ll be lonely. Yet the momentous revelations are tempered by the poetic resonance of everyday acts and objects. Shukichi greets a beautiful sunrise—signaling another day of brisk fanning and plucking at one’s kimono. An ordinary wristwatch links mother, daughter, and daughter-in-law in a lineage of hard-earned feminine wisdom. And the roar of a train dies down, leaving only the throbbing of a boat in the bay.

-David Bordwell

There is a pivotal scene in Tokyo Story when the two grandparents are introduced to their two young grandsons. "These are your grandparents," Koichi's wife Fumiko tells her oldest son and then turns to her mother-in-law, "Minoru is a junior high school student." From these words it is obvious the grandparents haven't really seen their grandchildren until now, and when the kids rudely run and leave towards their room, it shows the theme Ozu is getting at. That the ‘new’ Japanese family values are falling apart through modernization, and how the generations are slowly drifting apart. Ozu once wrote, "I tried to represent the collapse of the Japanese family in through showing children growing up. The melodramatic element in Tokyo Story is one of the strongest in my works."

I find it sad that Americans care nothing for Japanese poetry and paintings, little for classic Japanese films and way too much for Japanese cartoons because every time I enter a Ozu film and start to spend time with the characters I always feel content and safe like I'm spending time and revisiting with old friends and relatives; and it always makes me smile. To me, Yasujirô Ozu is the most curious of all directors because most of his films focused on family, marriage, children and weddings when Ozu himself was a bachelor and lived with his mother his whole life, dying alone months after she died. Ozu's style is very legendary because many believe he didn't have any style at all. Most of his shots were low and stationary shots and his visual strategy was very simple; which some critics consider profound.

His camera is usually three feet above the floor and he almost never moves it, while using a slow evenly paced track or pan, and a 360 degree axis of action with changes of angle in 45, 90, and 180 degree increments only, resulting in frequent breaks in continuity. Every single shot has an intended composition and the only movement you see in most Ozu films is characters walking in and out of rooms, not the camera itself. I also notice when most of Ozu's characters talk to each other they talk straight into the camera with almost no use of over the shoulder shots for one-on-one conversations; violating the traditional rules of visual composition. He often films a conversation between two people in which the characters don't seem to be looking at each other which makes us identify the character's from outside the conversation and objectively. Ozu's films also consist of several cutaways and transitions to dramatic action, which are a series of images which usually consist of the city with smoke, banners in the wind, clouds, empty streets, small architectural details, and clothes hanging on a line; which many call 'pillow shots,'.

Everyone understands what it is like to have a family. Ozu was a man whose films made you feel what it's like to be part of a family. Like all of Ozu's films, Tokyo Story's pacing is slow or as critic David Bordwell prefers to describe it, "calm". Ozu’s narrative strategies in his films are interesting because important events are often not shown on-screen, only being revealed later through dialogue. For example, Ozu does not depict the mother and father's journey to Tokyo at all. Children grow up, move out, have their own families and children, and slowly move on with their own separate lives. Ozu understood this as well, and this film was inspired by the classic American film, Make Way for Tomorrow, directed by Leo Mccarey. That film must have moved Ozu in such a way that he was inspired to make his Japanese version of that story.

Despite a Western boom in Japanese samurai films starting with Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon in the 1950's, Ozu's films remained unknown abroad. Ozu is sometimes considered the most Japanese of all Japan's directors. He was considered so Japanese, in fact, that his films were hardly seen outside Japan until after his death and it was Tokyo Story that broke the barrier. It showed at several screenings in 1972 in New York and won the hearts of the critics; and in time critics came to realize that this quiet filmmaker was one of cinema's masters.

A lot of Japanese cinema developed largely in isolation from the West until the end of World War II. With the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, it led to the rebuilding and modernization of the film industry. There were two types of Japanese films which were developed because of that: The Jadai-geki, which were historical films (made in Kyoto) set in pre-Mediji restoration period before 1868; For example, The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Sansho and Bailiff, and Ugetsu. And the Gendai-geki which were contemporary films made in Tokyo, like Tokyo Story and most of Ozu's films. In 1945 Japan was in ruins after the droppings of atomic bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki with over 900,000 casualties, which encouraged the production of meiji-mono and gendai-geki (films of contemporary life).

The script of Tokyo Story was developed by Ozu and his long-time collaborator Kogo Noda over a period of 103 days in a country inn in Chigasaki. The two, together with cinematographer Yuharu Atsuta, then scouted locations in Tokyo and Onomichi for another month before shooting started. Shooting and editing the film took place from July to October 1953. As with most Ozu films, production from the development of the script to the final editing only took four months to complete and Ozu used the same film crew and actors he had worked with for many years. Kogo Nada was Ozu's main screenwriter collaborator on more than half his films which besides Tokyo Story included, Late Spring, Early Summer and Floating Weeds.

The beautiful and legendary Setsuko Hara who played the loving and loyal Noriko, was a loving and loyal actress for Ozu as well. She would drop everything to work with Ozu and Setsuko Hara is usually looked at as Ozu's leading lady. When the studio asked Ozu to consider a different actress for his second film, he refused to make it without using Hara. It’s amazing that in several of Ozu’s films he uses the same actors and actresses and switches there ages and positions around within the family; and yet how he does it so convincingly is beyond me. In Tokyo Story, the actress that played Aunt Masa played Chishu Ryu’s daughter and yet in Late Spring she plays Chishu Ryu’s sister.

Yasujirô Ozu's films usually follow a consistant theme and story with some critics using that as a criticism of Ozu's work, but I don't see it that way. Most great directors use personal themes over and over just with a different context. Sure, you can say films like Early Summer, Late Spring and An Autumn Afternoon were all about a daughter who is pressured within the family to find a suitor and be wed off. But each film had different family members with different personalities and different character traits. Then there are the films that don't involve that similar storyline, like Floating Weeds which was about a father returning home to see his son who he thinks is his uncle. And finally there's Tokyo Story — which is considered by many to be Ozu's masterpiece. I always preferred Late Spring as the Ozu film that personally moved me the most, but I do understand why Tokyo Story is considered one of his most treasured works.

Tokyo Story is a film that everyone can relate to because anyone can see someone in Shukishi and Tomi's family that they see within their own family. I remember before my grandfather died, he didn't get many visitors because everyone was too busy with their own lives. After his wife died, he spent a lot of those years alone. I was the Noriko character, where I was one of the few grandchildren who came by and spent personal time with him. Of course when he got sick, everyone started to spend all the time with him that they could, because they knew he wasn't going to be around for much longer. I know a person like Keizo in my family, a person who never made the time to see his parents while they were in Tokyo because of his so-called 'business', and I wasn't surprised when Keizo arrived too late to see his mother. Shige was a selfish character I didn't like from the beginning of the film, because right when her parents came to visit all she did was complain about how they were always a nuisance, trying her best to get them out of her hair as much as she could. At her mother's funeral I found it ironic that she was the one doing most of the mourning and crying, since she couldn't have cared less about her existence when she was alive. I find it sad that many people thought Ozu's films were too Japanese; because even though his films dealt with Japanese family customs — the ideas of family, love, life and death are universal to all of us. I guess people's misconceptions about Ozu's work were wrong, because the film is now hailed as one of the greatest films ever made by Sight and Sound Magazine. On the critics' poll, it was third in 1992, fifth in 2002, and third again in 2012. On the director's poll, it was 17th in 1992, tied at number 16 with Psycho and The Mirror in 2002, and in 2012 it topped the poll, receiving 48 votes out of the 358 directors polled. Tokyo Story has appeared several times in The British Film Institute polls of greatest films of directors and critics and Roger Ebert included it in his Great Movies list. Time Magazine lists it among their All Time 100 Movies, and it was ranked #16 in Empire magazine's The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema in 2010. Not bad for a film that was once considered too Japanese. Tokyo Story to me is one of the greatest of all films because it shows that you don't have to be blood-related to be any less of a family member. "Oh, she was a headstrong woman--but if I knew things would come to this, I'd have been kinder to her," Shukishi says to his neighbor at the end of the film. The last shot of the film is tragic but simply honest as it shows Shukishi all alone now; stating to his neighbor that being alone he feels the days will get...very long.

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