My wife and I just watched Tokyo Story, and for the second time in a month I had that sensation that tells me I've just seen one that will be in my lifelong top twenty, maybe the top ten. (The other was Bresson's Balthazar.)
What a beautiful film. And I had to gasp when I came back to this thread and read the mention of the camera being placed at eye level if the viewer was kneeling in the houses, because that thought occurred to me while watching it. I wondered about it and then thought I was working to hard... reading too much into his intention. So what a surprise to realize that he DID intend that, and that it worked beautifully.
The film affected me much more than Ikiru did, which I watched recently. Technically, Ikiru is more complex and ambitious, but as far as storytelling goes, this one possessed a subtlety and weight that Ikiru lacked. (Ikiru's narration often seemed unnecessary, and Tokyo Story doesn't explain itself to us so much.)
I'm also interested in seeing if there are connections between Dreyer, Bresson, and Ozu. There are some shots in this film that are strikingly reminiscent of the shots in Ordet in which we look up at the crest of that hill against the sky, and a figure moves across it. Here, bicyclists, children, and other move across the stark line of the hill against a sky in a similar fashion. Further, the subtle nods to progress in this film as a divisive, mechanical, ironbound, unnatural thing reminded me of Bresson's way of relating electricity and industrialism with evil. There are some downright ugly shots of metalwork in this film that make Tokyo seem like an unnatural and alienating place.
Doug, maybe you can shed some light on this for me. Or maybe I should just go watch Disc 2 and see the tributes and the documentary. What other Ozu should I seek out?
I suddenly see Yi-Yi in a whole new light. If there aren't intentional references to this film in Yang's movie, then there are some spooky parallels going on. The multi-generational story, the way he films rooms with different generations walking in and out, carrying their own stories, the way the old look at the young, the way the young look at the old, the way parents consider what their children have grown up to be, the way a dying parent brings the children to see themselves as they truly are... Yang must have been paying tribute to Ozu with that film. So now I love Yi-Yi even more.
Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet, 26 May 2006 - 01:08 AM.