For a long time, Tokyo Story was the only Ozu movie available; I think that's one reason for its currency.
Is Tokyo Story the one where the best daughter is the one who actually isn't part of the family? She was engaged to their son, who died in the war?
That's the one.
Though it's not as simple as that. The "nice" daughter-in-law is "nice" because she's desperately lonely and the "unkind" children are "unkind" because they're busy professionals- and also because they have bitter childhood memories of dad as a feckless drunk.
This is what I love about Ozu- he sees everybody's point of view.
She's not technically a daughter-in-law--but that's the point. She *feels* like a daughter-in-law.
Duty doesn't have anything to do with whether or not your dad was a feckless drunk. And this isn't their dad who's sick, it's their mom. Confucianism doesn't give you a pass just because your parents are jerks at times.
The kids aren't horrible to their parents- they do, in fact, more or less perform their duty. For example they make the long inconvenient journey to be at mum's deathbed. The problem is that the duty is performed a little grudgingly- and the parents feel it.
But it could be argued on the other side that the parents are a blithering nuisance- turning up on the doorstep expecting to be indulged and amused. The first time the son "lets them down" is because he's been called to attend to a sick child. Now which is more important- caring for a sick child or showing one's parents the sights of Tokyo? I don't think that's too difficult a decision.
The son and daughter aren't particularly attractive people, but they have their reasons- and some of the reasons are good. When the youngest, favourite daughter- who never knew dad as a soak- gets angry with her siblings, the daughter-in-law says she mustn't judge them harshly; people do grow apart from their parents; life's like that. Well, says the youngest daughter with all the absolutism of youth, life is very disappointing.
Caring for the parents is more important.
I disagree. The guy's a doctor. He has taken the Hippocratic oath. His first duty is to care for his patients
If the parents needed him for something important it might be different, but this is just a sight-seeing tour.
It's not that he or his sister do anything terribly wrong, it's that they fail to show their parents any love. Duty is not enough.
I'm telling you the Japanese cultural POV.
Fair enough- but I don't think Ozu is merely a spokesman for his culture. I think he's showing his audience problems that are thrown up by the culture and asking them to go away and think.
Actually, his movie was being made at a time of great cultural upheaval in Japan. I think Ozu delineates the cultural stressors with a deft hand.
Yes, I'd agree. Very deft.
I'd really like to discuss this further with you. I really didn't have time to do this discussion justice at work, and now it's bedtime, and by the time I have a decent block of time, you will have moved on mentally to the next thing. Sigh.
Hey, I'm very happy to go on discussing Ozu for as long as you please. I ordered another of his films yesterday. I just can't get enough of him.
You have made me an Ozu fan with your posts. I tried going to some DVD stores here, but the problem is stores in India don't even know who Kurosawa is, forget Ozu :-(.
That's a shame.
I don't suppose most British DVD stores have heard of Ozu either. He's very much a minority taste.
Could you maybe get the films from an internet supplier?
I checked that too. It would cost me close to £90 for 10 films :-( [here, a DVD costs around £1 :-P].
There's a huge boxed set- 18 films- for sale at a very reasonable price on eBay. But this is a Chinese edition (clearly the Chinese love Ozu) and most of them don't have English subtitles.
Ozu is wonderful. I need to see more......
I have never seen any of his films and now I want to see as many as I can find.
I've only just discovered him. I guess it's only very recently that his movies have been widely available in the West.
You'll be able to see more quite soon, thanks to Criterion's new Eclipse label. Info here: http://www.criterion.com/eclipse/eclipse_3.asp
I don't know how expensive or easy to come across Criterions are in England, but the Eclipse releases are usually less expensive than Criterions, due to their absence of extras.
I also noticed that the Ozus you'd mentioned were all Criterion releases, so I suspect you're already familiar with the company's Ozu-related output.
I've been buying my Ozus from Tartan- a British company that closely parallels Criterion in its policy and output.
They have four boxed sets of late Ozu.
I've also bought a couple of titles from Artificial Eye.
It's the regional thing. I can't play Region 1 DVDs on my Brit DVD player. I know I could get the code removed but- well, I guess it's easier not to....