Shochiku Studio of Japan commissioned several directors to create films reflecting on the themes of Ozu Yasujiro on the centenary of the director's birth. Here we find Inoue Yoko, an apparently single young woman who is pregnant, searching for a small cafe that was often visited by a Taiwanese composer whose life she is researching. She herself is back from Taiwan and receiving help from a book store clerk, but she first has to contend with the her own reality which includes her parents.Written by
Ten days were spent to catch the famous sequence with the two main characters in the same take but on different trains. Each day there was only a three hour window where the trains crossed in this way. See more »
I am a complete stranger to the works of Hsiao-hsien Hou and Yasujiro Ozu, but I would like to give my opinion on this anyway.
Probably like me, strangers to the works of those directors will find this slow-paced, a little repetitive (with Yoko constantly getting on/off trains) and somewhat confusing in places.
However, watching it I noticed how simply human it was. Most films have a terrible dilemma, which usually are very much unlike real life. But this is a very simple film, in which in the dilemma is simply that she is three months pregnant but does not wish to marry the father of the unborn child. Very human.
Another way it was a very human hearted film was the relationships between her parents - who watch their growing daughter with concern slowly become more independent - and between her bookshop friend - having little chats in the bookshop, not going into deep conversation but having light-hearted chat.
It didn't have to be complicated, and that's what I liked most about this film. It was something to relate to.
This film is definitely a piece of art. Notice how the only soundtrack within the whole picture (music-wise) is Weyne's pieces (that is, during the film - there is a song during the credits). This brings more emphasis on the humanity of the film and the artistic camera shots used. It's a very poetic and serene film.
Cafe Lumiere probably means more to Hsiao-hsien Hou and Yasujiro Ozu fans than it did to me. But it was a sweet film and I'd definitely recommend it to those who just want something simple and quiet to watch.
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