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Tokyo Story (1953)

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“These are your grandparents”, Fumiko tells her sons, Isamu and Minoru. Minoru looks about ten years old, and we gather that if he’s ever met his grandparents before, it was so long ago that nobody expects him to remember. Isamu, the younger brother, just runs away from the unfamiliar old couple. This is part of an early scene in Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story. And where better to begin reviewing one of the greatest movies ever made than with a … (read more)

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An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

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If you’ve never seen an Ozu film then, ironically, the final one he ever made is probably a good place to start. An Autumn Afternoon will never be recognised among Ozu’s absolute masterpieces, yet it has an agreeable accessibility and humour that make it a very fine initiation into his world. And for Ozu’s many fans, the movie represents a perfect crystallisation of his famous thematic obsessions and legendary film style. Telling (surprise surprise!) a story of familial tribulation in … (read more)

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Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

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The last comment above might also read “people shed more tears in this film than any other….”

Just about everyone cries at some point in this melodrama spanning twenty years of a teacher’s life, which concentrates specifically on her career-long involvement with her first class of pupils: twelve little kids with twenty-four innocent eyes between them.

Charming sensei Oishi (Takamine) forms a bond with her students largely through a rather malicious act on their behalf. One day at the beach, … (read more)

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