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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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Equinox Flower (1958)

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The first colour piece by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, Equinox Flower is a flawless movie: funny, charming, and gently moving. It is built around one of the oldest stories in the book: “father disapproves of daughter’s fiancé”, and as trite as such a story may sound these days, this is probably the most deeply felt and well observed version of it ever made. At the centre of the film’s success is its uniformly wonderful cast, with every performance pitched perfectly … (read more)

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