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Tokyo Story (1953) More at IMDbPro »Tôkyô monogatari (original title)

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The Toronto Film Festival’s Essential 100 Movies

22 December 2010 11:00 AM, PST | Slash Film | See recent Slash Film news »

It seems like only yesterday that the American Film Institute released their 100 Years...100 Movies [1] list. Actually though, it was over 10 years ago when we first got our look at that "definitive" list of the 100 best American movies. They then did a ten year anniversary of it in 2007 with only minor adjustments and both years Citizen Kane held the number one place as the best American movie. Of course, the problem with those lists is that they only list American films. While Hollywood might be considered the epicenter of film, the art form itself spans the globe, way beyond American borders. That's why the Toronto International Film Festival came up with their Essential 100 movies. Created by merging lists made by Toronto Film Festival supporters along with another made by their programmers, these are supposed to be the 100 essential movies every cinephile must see. And it starts off with a bang as Citizen Kane has been toppled. »

- Germain Lussier

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Yoji Yamada to direct a contemporary take on Ozu’s “Tokyo Story”

15 December 2010 3:12 PM, PST | Nippon Cinema | See recent Nippon Cinema news »

On Monday, Shochiku announced Yoji Yamada’s next film, Tokyo Kazoku (literally “Tokyo Family”), an homage to Yasujiro Ozu’s 1953 film, “Tokyo Story”. Production will begin in early 2011, which also happens to be the 50th year of Yamada’s filmmaking career.

In Ozu’s original film, an elderly couple (played by Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama) travel to the city to visit their adult children and grandchildren. However, aside from their widowed daughter-in-law Noriko (Setsuko Hara), their children are now far too preoccupied with their own busy lives to pay much attention to their parents.

Yamada’s take will be similar, but will obviously have a few differences in that it’s set in modern-day Tokyo.

“I was always attracted to Tokyo Story as a film,” said Yamada, “and also its great structure of depicting family and human beings, which have always been a center of my interest as a subject to my films. »

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Make Way for Tomorrow

20 November 2010 4:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

(1937, U, Eureka)

This important addition to Eureka's "Masters of Cinema" series stars Beulah Bondi and Victor Moore as an elderly, lower-middle-class couple who lose their home in the Great Depression, are shuffled around between their sons and daughters and are finally separated forever after a last unforgettable evening in New York.

It was a box-office failure for its director, Leo McCarey, who was best known for comedy and romance. But when he picked up his Oscar for the screwball classic The Awful Truth that year he said he'd been honoured for the wrong film.

Graham Greene (as movie critic for The Spectator) thought it "the most sentimental and yet the most moving of all" the year's social dramas: at the end, "a sense of misery and inhumanity is left vibrating in the nerves".

In one of two excellent essays on the Blu-ray disc, Peter Bogdanovich reports Orson Welles saying: "Oh my God, »

- Philip French

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Tma’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time

13 November 2010 10:27 AM, PST | The Moving Arts Journal | See recent The Moving Arts Journal news »

You will not like something about this list.  In your mind, undeserving inclusions and unthinkable omissions probably abound.  That is as it should be.  Film, for all the scholarship, expertise and pretense that surrounds it, remains, like all art, firmly subjective.  Feel free to tell us what we missed, what we misplaced, or congratulate us on a job well done, if you feel so inclined.  Just remember to keep it clean, civil and respectful.  With that said, these are The Moving Arts Film Journal’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time:

#1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Kubrick)

#2. Citizen Kane (1941, Welles)

#3. The Godfather (1972, Coppola)

#4. Andrei Rublev (1966, Tarkovsky)

#5. The Rules of the Game (1939, Renoir)

#6. Casablanca (1942, Curtiz)

#7. Vertigo (1958, Hitchcock)

#8. La Dolce Vita (1960, Fellini)

#9. Seven Samurai (1954, Kurosawa)

#10. The Godfather Pt. II (1974, Coppola)

#11. The Third Man (1949, Reed)

#12. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Fleming)

#13. Dr. Strangelove (1964, Kubrick)

#14. Goodfellas (1990, Scorsese)

#15. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Herzog)

#16. 8½ (1963, Fellini)

#17. Singin’ In The Rain (1952, Donen, »

- Eric M. Armstrong

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Tokyo Story: No 4

20 October 2010 3:51 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Yasujiro Ozu, 1953

It's dangerous to start watching Japanese cinema, because the world is so extensive and dazzling you may quickly develop a taste for nothing but Japanese films. Is there a romance more mysterious than Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari? Is there action to surpass Kurosawa's Seven Samurai? And, in terms of family drama, has any film been more moving than Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story?

Time and again, Ozu has made films about family, and the shifting structure we refer to as "time and again". Family is less a fixed entity than a kind of weather system that keeps coming back. So children need parents, and need to outlive them. But while the weather will go on, and your children will become parents, so your life will close, and you will not be there to see the way your own children look back as if to say they understand you, too late. »

- David Thomson

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Five Essential... Anime Movies

4 October 2010 3:03 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Cherokee Summer selects her Five Essential Anime Movies...

I must confess that once (and I emphasis on the ‘once’) I was an anime nerd. A big one. I’d watch anything and everything to do with anime, read tons of manga, became obsessed with the Japanese culture, and attended yearly conventions to meet like-minded people who were just as obsessed as me - and also couldn’t string a coherent sentence together without shouting ‘Kawaii’ and various other Japanese phrases.

Thankfully, that time has long gone (and it’s good to get it off my chest too) but something that has remained with me are some of the select anime’s that I watched in my phase (a few being from many years before) that are powerful films in their own right.

Rather than opting for the doe eyed, big chested and short skirted heroine of many anime shows and »

- flickeringmyth

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Masters Of Cinema To Release Leo McCarey’s Make Way For Tomorrow Blu-ray On October 25th In The UK

1 October 2010 1:41 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Later this month, our friends at the Masters Of Cinema will be releasing Leo McCarey’s 1937 film, Make Way For Tomorrow on Blu-ray.

It was only this past February, that the Criterion Collection released their edition of Make Way For Tomorrow on DVD, with an incredible cover from the comic artist, Seth. The Criterion version was only available on DVD, and the Masters Of Cinema release will only be available on Blu-ray.

Assuming the press release lists all of the supplements on the MoC release, they will be duplicating all of the material from the Criterion disc. You’ll get a video piece from Peter Bogdanovich discussing the life and career of McCarey, and another video interview with Gary Giddins, discussing Leo McCarey’s filmography.

While it will be nice to see this film in high definition, it doesn’t seem like this is a title that you’ll need to double dip on, »

- Ryan Gallagher

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Do We Need Blu-rays?

15 September 2010 1:16 AM, PDT | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

Glenn Kenny poses a provocative question over at Mubi.com: "What, finally, is the point of the Blu-ray disc? Not just for cinephiles, but for anyone with a home entertainment setup?" This none-too-rhetorical query came on the heels of Kenny's examination of a new set of Yasujiro Ozu Blu-rays from the British Film Institute. In Kenny's words, the films "do not shimmer" the way many new ones do on Bd (and the way many Bd connoisseurs expect all films to on Bd), largely because Ozu's films weren't filmed with shimmer in mind. In that case: what is the point? If you have a Criterion Collection DVD of "Tokyo Story," do you need to buy it on Blu-ray as well?

It's a question I've been pondering myself recently, having inherited my first HDTV from a friend and bought my first Blu-ray player just a few months ago. At about ten titles, »

- Matt Singer

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Tuesday Foreign Region/Blu-ray Disc Report: "Tokyo Story" (Yasujiro Ozu, 1952)

13 September 2010 12:36 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

What, finally, is the point of the Blu-ray disc? Not just for cinephiles, but for anyone with a home entertainment setup? Which questions lead us back to the question of what's the point of a home entertainment setup. Not just for anyone, but for cinephiles. You following me?

These questions dog me as I consider three Blu-ray discs from the British Film Institute, high-resolution home versions of three—no, wait, make that four— Ozu masterpieces. If I focus here on Tokyo Story, it's because it's the one best known to whatever larger audience there is or may be for Ozu pictures, and also because it's the one that's most likely to be a budding cinephile or film student's first exposure to Ozu. The other three Ozu pictures put out not merely in Blu-ray but in dual-format—that is, Blu-ray and standard definition DVD—editions are 1951's Early Summer, and a »

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Tokyo Story | DVD review

28 August 2010 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

(1953, U, BFI)

Japanese film-maker Yasujiro Ozu (1903-63) was unknown in the west until this supreme masterpiece was shown in Europe. A film that can be mentioned in the same breath as King Lear, it centres on an elderly couple from a small coastal town leaving their unmarried daughter behind and travelling by train to visit their married doctor son, married beautician daughter and daughter-in-law, a war widow, in Tokyo. Only the daughter-in-law proves welcoming. It's an astutely observed study of married love and parental relationships, of what we hope for in life and what we end up with, that neither sentimentalises nor idealises the old couple. In the Observer in 1963 Ken Tynan called it "momentously subtle, extraordinarily beautiful", and it unfolds in Ozu's customary style of carefully composed shots from a camera placed just above floor level. This double-disc set contains both DVD and Blu-ray versions as well as Brothers and Sisters »

- Philip French

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Satoshi Kon obituary

26 August 2010 10:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Japanese director of playful animation combining realistic drama with fantasy

Satoshi Kon, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 46, was one of the boldest and most distinctive film-makers to specialise in animation. His main body of work – four completed feature films and an acclaimed television mini-series – was playful, sophisticated and adult. Tired of the cliches of mass-produced Japanese animation – "robots and beautiful little girls," as he once put it – Kon sought to make animation that used ambitious and often disorientating editing, intercutting and scene-shifting.

"In animation, only what is intended to be communicated is there," he once said. "If I had a chance to edit live-action, it would be too fast for audiences to follow." Kon made only sparing use of CGI in his mostly drawn films, relying on such superb animators as Shinji Otsuka and Toshiyuki Inoue.

Much of Kon's animation combines realistic drama (usually set in present-day Tokyo) with dreams and fantasy. »

- Andrew Osmond

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On September 22nd, 66 Criterion Collection Films Will Expire From Netflix Watch Instantly [Update 8/27]

23 August 2010 9:11 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

[Update 8/27/10 - I went back to InstantWatcher.com to check on the status of upcoming expiring Criterion films, and it appears that this entire list has disappeared from their listings. I checked on a few of the titles, and it looks like their streaming end dates have been extended! I will be updating this post later, with the correct dates, but it looks like something happened between this post going up, and now.]

Some sad news to report, on the streaming side of things today. I just learned, via the excellent website InstantWatcher.com, that more than a few Criterion Collection films will be expiring from Netflix’s Watch Instantly service on September 22nd.

In total, 66 films from the Criterion Collection will be removed from the line-up, but don’t go canceling your account just yet. Over the past year, on several monthly occasions, a number of Criterion films were added, allowing viewers to stream some of the best titles that Criterion had at their disposal. Netflix has never claimed that everything on Watch Instantly would last forever, and there may be a number of reasons why these titles are going away. Some theories I’m kicking around:

Criterion and Netflix set up a deal, and that deal is coming to an end. Pretty simple. Criterion may be looking at moving more of these titles to Hulu, »

- Ryan Gallagher

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BFI To Release Dual Format (DVD & Blu-ray) Ozu Titles, First Up: Early Summer, Late Spring, And Tokyo Story

26 July 2010 4:28 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Over the next three years, BFI is set to release one of the most extensive collection of films from one filmmaker this world has known.

According to DVD Outsider, the company will be releasing all 32 films from the legendary Japanese auteur Yasujiro Ozu, with at least seven of them being available on DVD/Blu-ray for the very first time in their history. These will only be available as Region 2 locked discs, so you’ll need a Region-free Blu-ray player to take advantage of these titles.

Many of these films are obviously available through the Criterion Collection and its sister collection, the Eclipse Series, but it looks like after the massively successful retrospective run of Ozu’s films, that BFI has taken the reigns and will be giving any fan of the legendary filmmaker a reason to start saving those pennies, or selling those kidneys.

First up is Tokyo Story, Early »

- Joshua Brunsting

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A Journey Through The Eclipse Series: Yasujiro Ozu’s Early Spring

26 July 2010 12:32 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

The world today isn’t very interesting.

Everyone’s dissatisfied.

You ought to try and have a good time.

You’re right. That’s the only way.

I guess that’s about it.

After a weekend packed with tweets, blogs and breaking news about hotly anticipated fantasy/action/adventure/sci-fi movies from the San Diego Comic-Con, I’m sure that some of us are ready to spend a few minutes thinking about poignant, calm, reality-based films for grown-ups as a refreshing change of pace. At least I hope so, since that’s where I’m trying to draw your attention. For this week’s column, I’ve chosen Yasujiro Ozu’s Early Spring, from Eclipse Series 3: Late Ozu. It’s Ozu’s follow-up to Tokyo Story, one of those perennial candidates for “greatest film of all time,” at least within some subsets of the art house crowd. I’ve »

- David Blakeslee

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Portrait of the artist: Richard Wilson, actor

19 July 2010 1:30 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

'I soon realised that "I don't believe it" would be the price I had to pay for One Foot in the Grave's success'

What got you started?

I got into drama accidentally, in a rather unusual way. My primary school had a stage in its gymnasium. Once you had passed the 11-plus, it was considered a privilege for you to stay behind after school, move all the chairs out of the way and turn the gymnasium into a theatre. You'd go and have your tea, then come back and see a show, and put all the chairs away again.

What was your big breakthrough?

Doing [the 1987 TV series] Tutti Frutti was a big landmark for me as an actor – and later, One Foot in the Grave. But as a director, the big moment came when I was asked to direct a mime-play in my final year at Rada. I was good at mime, »

- Laura Barnett

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A Journey Through The Eclipse Series: Yasujiro Ozu’s Passing Fancy

19 July 2010 12:00 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

With better manners, he’d be head of his class.

Over the course of a career spanning the late 1920s to the early 1960s, Japanese auteur Yasujiro Ozu released 54 films. Of those, 17, nearly one-third, are irretrievably lost and a pair exist only in fragments. Of the films that remain, another 17 have now been released in the United States through Janus Films and the Criterion Collection. That number was just attained last week when Criterion issued a lovingly crafted box set of two films: The Only Son and There Was a Father. This news, combined with our recent podcast focused on Floating Weeds and the in-depth Ozu retrospective series by Moises Chiullan in his Arthouse Cowboy column over at Hollywood-Elsewhere.com, have made Ozu a frequent topic of conversation on this site and in the online community of Criterion and cinema fans over the past few weeks. So now seems as »

- David Blakeslee

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This week's new DVD and Blu-ray

16 July 2010 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The Ozu Collection

DVD & Blu-Ray, BFI

It's only in the past decade or so that the films of director Yasujiro Ozu have really come to our attention in the west; hard to believe now that he's a fixture in any self-respecting "best films ever" list. Now the BFI is making sure such a shameful oversight never happens again. All 32 of his surviving films are to be released, starting with the Noriko Trilogy: Late Spring, Early Summer and Tokyo Story, all linked by themes and characters. His films don't deal with action, rather with reaction – usually to situations and characters that remain offscreen, unseen. Ozu's style contains plenty of long takes and static camerawork, methods that are now just as cliched in the arthouse world as bullet time and 3D are in action films. But in Ozu's hands these tools, then fresh, are powerful. He steadfastly refuses to make a big deal out of anything, »

- Phelim O'Neill

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Ozu, Warner Archive, "Alamar," Anti-Biopics

14 July 2010 6:55 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"By 1936, the year of Yasujiro Ozu's first feature-length talkie, The Only Son, the mature filmmaker of late masterpieces like Tokyo Story and Early Summer had become clearly recognizable, both from an aesthetic and thematic standpoint," writes Andrew Schenker in Slant. "As David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson explain on one of this set's bonus features, Ozu's earlier, silent work tended toward the comic and experimented with a range of styles — an impression confirmed by Criterion's Eclipse series Silent Ozu: Three Family Comedies. His 1936 offering, by contrast, finds the director in free command of his signature aesthetic (fixed-take camera setups often shot through windows and doorways; measured pacing, punctuated by silences and striking 'empty' imagery) and already fully engaged with his signature themes (familial sacrifice and disappointment, resignation to one's circumstances)." »

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Small Screen | Ozu, "Chloe," "Greenberg," "Stuart" & "Omar Broadway" Set Up In Your Living Room

12 July 2010 11:32 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

This week, one of the masters of Japanese cinema gets a double disc release through the Criterion Collection. Yasujiro Ozu, the master of early Japanese cinema has a hearty representation in the Collection, with his classic "Tokyo Story" joining packages of his silent films, his late films, and more in the prestigious Criterion library. This time, his films "The Only Son" and "There Was a Father" are released as a bundle. »

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The heart-wrenching performance of Setsuko Hara, Ozu's quiet muse | Peter Bradshaw

16 June 2010 6:49 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Hara, who turns 90 tomorrow, enigmatically walked away from films in 1963 – but her subtle power in Tokyo Story remains undiminished

This Thursday sees the 90th birthday of one of the greatest stars in cinema history, and yet it will pass off quietly. Such has been her profound reticence that even this very brief blog, noticing the fact, seems impertinent. Setsuko Hara is the actor who was unforgettable in key films by Yasujiro Ozu, as well as work by Mikio Naruse and Akira Kurosawa in a career lasting over 30 years, but foreswore the acting profession in 1963. By this time she had become an icon in Japan, sometimes called the "Eternal Virgin". Her retirement may have been connected with the death of Ozu, with whom she will forever be associated, but since then she has refused to elaborate or give interviews. In an age when actors solemnly tell newspapers and celeb magazines how very very "private" they are, »

- Peter Bradshaw

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