Yasujiro Ozu’s 1953Â Tokyo Story is a quiet, movingÂ film aboutÂ an essential theme of life: change. It’s not to be missed.
Chishu Ryu, Ozu’s iconic actor, plays an elderly father who travels from the countryside to Tokyo with his wife to visit their grown children. Chishu Ryu shouldÂ serve as an exampleÂ in acting classes–he conveys benevolence and humanity with mere nods, with grunted assents, with barely perceptible smiles. The beautiful and gracious Setsuko Hara plays his daughter.Â Ozu’s actorsÂ subtly expressÂ a range of human emotion without the crude mugging we often seeÂ in American acting.
Often the emotions are sad. The Roman poet Vergil used an expression I like: lacrimae rerum, or the tears of things. The phrase expresses the melancholy of life, the grief of loss, the disappointment we encounter in small things. Ozu isÂ a master atÂ conveying lacrimae rerum. Because we can identify so closely with these sorrows, and they are conveyed in such a humane and compassionate way, and the film itself is so gentle and beautiful, it’s not depressing, but poignant and real.
As John keeps pointing out, filmmakers in a recent poll chose Tokyo Story as Number One, the best film ever made. You don’t want to miss the best film ever made, showing at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque at 6:55 pmÂ on Saturday, October 27, and 3:30 pm on Sunday, the 28th.
In addition, the AIDS documentary We Were Here looks powerful. This film, shown in conjunction with Ensemble Theater’s production of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart, chronicles the beginning of the epidemic as seen through the eyes of gay men in San Francisco. (Shows Thursday, October 25, at 6:45 pm, and Friday, October 26, at 7:30 pm.)
As in weeks past, I recommend the Miyazaki film,Â the last of this series. If you’ve never seen a film by this director, you’re missing out. Princess Mononoke deals with ecological themesÂ within a mythological story. (Saturday at 9:30 pm, and Sunday at 6:30 pm.)