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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The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.