Tokyo boshoku (1957)
as Takako Numata
as Noodle vendor
as Akiko Sugiyama
as Kisako Soma
as Sakae Aiba
as Noburo Kawaguchi
as Shukichi Sugiyama
as Yasuo Numata
as Shigeko Takeuchi
as Seki Sekiguchi
Critic Reviews for Tokyo boshoku
This turbulent and grim family melodrama, from 1957, is steered away from the maudlin and given emotional depth and philosophical heft under the direction of Yasujiro Ozu.
This rarely screened, melancholy 1957 film, Ozu's last in black and white, is one of his best.
Ozu's chilliest film... certainly packs a devastating (albeit characteristically understated) emotional punch - but on the way it is occasionally marred by meandering scenes that belie the usual economy of Ozu's minimalism.
Strangely, even though this is Ozu's darkest, most pessimistic film, it still has the same easy quality; we never feel bludgeoned or wrung out.
Appropriately the last black and white Ozu film, Tokyo Twilight maintains his signature style despite its tragic melancholy...Beautifully photographed and framed, the story flows naturally and gently and retains hope.
Audience Reviews for Tokyo boshoku
This film is methodical in developing its tale of troubles for a Japanese family, which had a wife run away from her husband and two daughters when they were young, the older daughter (now grown) running away from her own unhappy marriage, and the younger daughter running with the wrong crowd and getting pregnant. Despite all these dark elements, the film is very prim and proper in its delivery, and rather quiet. The older daughter is played reasonably well by Setsuko Hara, but she's upstaged by Ineko Arima, who plays her rebellious younger sister. The scenes with Arima frustrated by her lover's games, dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, and wondering if she was the product of an affair of her mother's are among the best in the film. It was interesting to contrast the handling of abortion by director Yasujiro Ozu with that by 'new wave' director Nagisa Oshima (Cruel Story of Youth, 1960), and the American Robert Mulligan (Love with the Proper Stranger, 1963). The issues I had with the film all relate back to Ozu's direction. Early on in the film you'll notice actors often staring directly into the camera as they deliver their dialogue, particularly the father (Chishu Ryu). These simple shots seem dated, even for the time period. As the film progresses, it's too ponderous in many of its shots and scenes, such that it ends up being much too long at 140 minutes. Lastly, I disliked the fact that it was ultimately a morality tale. With a heavy hand, Ozu essentially tells us it's important to keep a marriage together even if it's unhappy, because one parent will not be enough. The message is dated, and his delivery lacks artistry.
My second viewing of Tokyo Twilight was on the big screen. I loved it before, now I adore it. The second time allows you to appreciate the film even more, as the pacing is better when you know where it's going. The film focuses on the ever dependable Chishu Ryu. He has raised his two daughters after his wife up and left. His eldest daughter is in an abusive relationship. The youngest has an unexpected pregnancy. And his wife has recently returned to Tokyo. This unexpected return really messes with the youngest daughter who can't accept being an abandoned child. Even when dealing with heartbreaking situations Ozu usually finds some optimism in his stories. Tokyo Twilight is a lot darker. As the title would suggest, it teeters between lightness and darkness, but will eventually become night. Abusive marriages, unexpected pregnancies, family members returning. It's a recipe for great drama and in Ozu's careful fingers, he doesn't descend into melodrama. The film begins with Ryu as the protagonist, but it gradually moves towards the youngest daughter before going to Setsuko Hara. These changes keep the film interesting and allow all the plot elements to come together. His shots are sparse and focused. The music is light but aids each scene. As one woman stares at a child after a difficult decision, it's obvious to know exactly how she feels without any words being spoken, it's great cinema.
truly a beautiful film. the film is so simple that the same material in the hands of most any other director might have seemed pointless, dull, and without direction. in the hands of ozu it was profound, engaging, and more true to life than most other films ever made. this is ozu's gift, no bells and whistles, no fancy effects or rediculous melodrama, just real life on film that almost anyone can relate to. this was ozu's most criticised film upon its release because of the difficult themes of depression, suicide, and abortion, but the people are so genuine that i couldnt help but feel effected. some of the regular ozu cast members return and ryu specifically is becoming one of my favorites. a great film.
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