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Cinema According to Víctor Erice

Sunday, August 2, 2015
8:15 p.m. Tokyo Story
Yasuziro Ozu (Japan, 1953)

Part of It’s a Wrap! celebrating our final weekend in the PFA Theater

(Tokyo monogatari). Setsuko Hara anchors one of the greatest of all Japanese films with one of the greatest of all performances, as a warm-hearted, becalmed, yet utterly determined young woman. Tokyo Story is about the gap between generations in a Japanese family. It tells a simple, sad story of an elderly couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their two married children, only to find themselves politely ushered off to a hot springs resort. There, the mother dies, leaving only their widowed daughter-in-law (Hara) to care for the father. “Two generations, a simple story that allows all the characters to change places, a pervading delineation of high summer, and the deceptive simplicity of the film’s style—all these combine to create a picture so Japanese and at the same time so personal, and hence so universal in its appeal, that it becomes a masterpiece” (Donald Richie).

• Written by Ozu, Kogo Noda. Photographed by Yuharu Atsuta. With Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara, So Yamamura. (140 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Janus Films/Criterion Collection)