Two sisters live with their father. The younger sister is embroiled in an affair and becomes pregnant. The elder sister has run away from her husband and returned with her child to her parent's home. Both sisters are astonished when their mother, long thought dead, turns up alive. The sisters are even more stunned when they learn what their mother's life has been.
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October 15, 2018 at 08:08 AM
Another masterpiece by Ozu
This is my fifth Ozu film. And as I watch more of his movies my respect for his genius keeps on growing. He is more avant-garde than any other film maker I have seen.
While others use wars as backdrop to create a more touching drama, wars just find a small reference in his films even if his characters have lived through them. While other use death as a dramatic pivot for the whole movie, Ozu skips it altogether. People do die in his films, but they do it off screen. There are no famous last dialogs about life or last moments.
But despite these things or maybe because of these things, his movies are more poignant and touching than any other I have seen. I don't really cry while watching his movies. Instead they leave me in a strange tranquil state of mind, wistfully smiling.
Another thing to note is that while his movies reveal more about Japanese culture than any other movies I have seen, at the same time they are very universal.
If you haven't seen any movie by Yasujiro Ozu, I recommend starting with Tokyo Story or Good Morning. This one seems much longer as it takes some time to start and is devoid of humor. This is not meant as a criticism, Tokyo Twilight is still an amazing experience. But I think an average viewer should start with something else.
secrets and lies, Ozu style
A fairly dark story for Ozu, but you know what? I think that shows Ozu can do just a little different than what everyone expects of him. The ingredients of this stuff isn't just melodrama, it's soap opera - disappointed father, absentee mother, an abortion, and a closed off young woman who doesn't know what to do with herself, certainly not around the deadbeat man in her life. But it's how Ozu goes about - I felt deeply for this family since it builds from a place that just feels real - and awkward in its reality. I think in many of Ozu's films the kind of nice-ness people have to one another (I don't know if this is just in Japan or just elsewhere) is a cover for what they really think and feel.
A lot of what is in the early parts of Ozu films are mundane, just pleasantries, making tea, talking some minor gossip or 'how was your day' stuff. But then it goes into some areas that are much darker, or just can't be seen by the surface of the rituals of Japanese familial ties and relations. And in this film Ozu really made it a point that this family is torn by secrets and lies, and it's so under the surface that it becomes palpable. And there's a noirish quality here that works interestingly, as the sister Akika stews away with her secret in a bar, and doesn't even know the bigger secret about her birthright (and a tinny song Ozu plays often in the film, even in the most tragic scenes, adds a whole other level of the familiar but sadness).
I was touched by Tokyo Twilight, and it wasn't a sudden effect - it came over me gradually, like an old friend coming by and then finding out through a long and staggering conversation what hard times there have been. It's tragedy in full dimensions
Read more IMDb reviews
A single male parent tries to help his two daughters, both of whom have emotional problems, with partial success.
This is a relatively "dark" film, symbolized by the cold weather outside throughout the film, and the various ways (wearing masks, sitting close to the fire, snuggling up) in which the characters cope with the cold.
I cannot agree with the previous review's strictures about the leading male character, that he is paternalistic, passive, and judgmental. What came across to me was that he cared deeply for his children and accepted his responsibility as a parent to address their problems. He has been abandoned by his wife and the mother of his children, he says he has done the best he could to raise them, at the same time acknowledging the need for children to have two parents. The theme of parental responsibility seems a common element in this with the last Ozu film I saw: THERE WAS A FATHER.
Although this is a rather "dark" film, the ending, like that of many of Shakespeare's plays, ends in some form of reconciliation: the one daughter wanting to start a new life, the other deciding to return, with her child, to her husband, from whom she has been separated.