Rent Tokyo Story / Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1953)

4.0 of 5 from 188 ratings
2h 16min
Rent Tokyo Story / Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (aka Tôkyô monogatari / Todake no kyôdai) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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  • Available formats
Synopsis:
A constant fixture in critics' polls, Yasujiro Ozu's most enduring masterpiece, 'Tokyo Story', is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret. From the simple tale of an elderly husband and wife's visit to Tokyo to see their grown-up children, Ozu draws a compelling contrast between the measured dignity of age and the hurried insensitivity of a younger generation.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Sachiko Mitani, , Mitsuhiro Môri, Junko Anan,
Directors:
Producers:
Takeshi Yamamoto
Writers:
Kôgo Noda, Yasujirô Ozu, Tadao Ikeda
Aka:
Tôkyô monogatari / Todake no kyôdai
Studio:
BFI Video
Genres:
Children & Family, Classics, Drama
Countries:
Japan, Children & Family, Classics, Drama
BBFC:
Release Date:
06/12/2004
Run Time:
236 minutes
Languages:
Japanese
Subtitles:
English
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
Bonus:
  • Ozu's incisive satire, 'Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family' (1940), also included here, explores similar themes. After the death of her husband, Mrs Toda and her youngest daughter receive a frosty welcome from extended family
BBFC:
Release Date:
19/07/2010
Run Time:
136 minutes
Languages:
Japanese
Subtitles:
English
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B

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Reviews (1) of Tokyo Story / Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family

Slow essay drama exploring post-war Japanese culture is not, for me, 'the best film of all time' - Tokyo Story / Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family review by BW

Spoiler Alert
09/02/2018

Toyko Story is one of the most critically acclaimed films. In a 2012 poll of film directors conducted by Sight & Sound it was voted the best film of all time. I find it difficult to understand such high opinions of the movie. I quite like this essay-type film which explores its subject matter with clarity, focus and a thoughtful, inquiring approach. Ostensibly the central theme of the piece is of grown-up children having little time for their parents. In the increasingly urban and westernised Japan of the 1950s, the siblings in this film have moved to Toyko and a metropolitan life that contrasts quite sharply with the traditional Japanese culture of their parents.

The brief review accompanying the copy I watched called the film a 'finely nuanced' drama but I see it very differently. The difficulties between the elderly parents and their grown-up children are repeatedly foregrounded and emphasised. It's not a slight thing glimpsed in gestures and tone of phrase but the basic narrative focus of the script. Similarly, the characters come across as quite plain and one-dimensional. There is acting here but it is of the Brechtian kind, as you might expect of a film-as-essay where ideas and arguments are being methodically explored by the drama. Other admirers of Toyko Story comment on the objective approach that the direction and camera takes - steady and unobtrusive, aspiring to a cinema of non-attachment in the Buddhist sense. I wonder if the polite and formulaic Japanese customs, manners and tatami mat gatherings often portrayed by the drama may amplify this idea of a similarly detached film-making approach.

Toyko Story seemed over-long but it does come alive in the final third of the movie. In scenes towards the end some of the characters uncover a depth and passion hitherto unseen. At the end, Toyko Story comes across as a film concerned with deep existential matters along with the cultural debates it either hints at (the Westernisation of Japanese culture) or boldly covers throughout (the difference between generations). It is a film that asks questions without providing shallow answers or polemics. I am a viewer who enjoys slow, thoughtful films and can rate black-and-white classics too but ultimately Toyko Story took too long for me to come alive and generate interest.

1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

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