Tokyo Twilight (Tokyo Boshoku)

YASUJIRO OZU

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  Japan, 1957.  Shôchiku Eiga.  Screenplay by , Yasujiro Ozu.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  

The elder of two daughters () has moved back home with her infant to live with her emotionally distanced father () after her marriage falls apart. Her younger sister has gotten pregnant by her roguish university student boyfriend and needs to find him in order to decide what to do next. Things get complicated when they discover that the mother who abandoned them in childhood is now back in Tokyo and wants to see them. This sensitive film by Yasujiro Ozu is much more somber than his films tend to be; there are very few light moments or the delight he takes in showing the banality of every day life. Here his examination of the destruction of the family (a common theme in his work, at least according to Donald Richie) is much darker and devoid of hope, the entire experience overcast with a sense of tragedy and despair. That, plus the weighty running time of 140 minutes, might make it a chore for the unenthused Ozu watcher (and an impossibility for those uninitiated with his works), but fans will be drawn in enough to at least stick to it until the poignant and affecting, if bitter, end.

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