Tokyo Story review

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Director Yasujiro Ozu didn't much care for action and drama. No, the wise old man of Japanese cinema cared about people and the spaces that open up between them: parents and children, marriage and loneliness, hope and disappointment. Maybe that's why you can still hear Ozu's films whispering in your heart long after they finish.

Tokyo Story, his best-known work in the West, shows an elderly couple travelling to Tokyo to visit their grown-up children. They arrive in the city, only to find that their children no longer have any time to spend with them. Now, in narrative terms, that's about it. But Ozu's is a cinema of distillation: no jagged cuts and tracks, just a serenely still camera allowing a purity of emotion to trickle free.

The result is a quiet, devastating poignancy that gently envelops you en route to an absolute tear-streamer of an ending. Bring Granny along and watch your local cinema turn into the last scene in Titanic.

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