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Frequently named as one of the greatest films in the history of cinema, Yasujiro Ozu's story of an elderly couple's heartrending visit to their ungrateful grown children is an ineffably moving meditation on mortality.
"One of the manifest miracles of the cinema" (The New Yorker), Tokyo Story was voted the greatest film of all time in the directors' selection of the 2012 Sight & Sound poll. It should be seen at least once, if not once a year. An elderly couple (Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama) journeys to Tokyo to visit their grown children and are confronted by indifference, ingratitude, and self-absorption. The traditional tatami-and-tea domesticity fairly crackles with vexation and discontent; only the couple's placid daughter-in-law (the exquisite Setsuko Hara, conveying bitter disappointment through a radiant smile) shows them any kindness. When they are packed off to a resort by their impatient children, the film deepens into an unbearably moving meditation on mortality. "One of the greatest of all Japanese motion pictures. Ozu's style, now completely refined, utterly economical, creates a film which is unforgettable because it is so right, so true, and because it demands so much from an audience" (Donald Richie).