The Best of Family Ties

I said I`d return

to quaint and you can`t get more

quaint than this old tale

No, not Family Ties, the popular American sitcom from the 1980s.    A classic Japanese film more like.

I watched Tokyo Story again last night.  And I thought Megane was slow-going hah!! I had forgotten about Tokyo Story but of course the pace fits the storyline and is somehow one of those films you don`t mind watching again.  I mentioned the other day how a certain French film was already 11 years old which is just a new-born film compared to this.  The old couple who are from a place with a slow pace of life dealing with getting around the big smoke mostly neglected by the seemingly busy daughter and son they had gone to visit (only the daughter-in-law, Noriko, has any real time for them) and they are obviously moving a bit slower themselves.    The hairdresser daughter annoyed me no end (even her voice was annoying and I thought it served her right to have to deal with her drunken father though it really brought out the worst of her voice) while the daughter-in-law`s humility was set to the max, as seen in the poignant scene between her and her father-in-law, probably one of the nicest scenes I`ve ever watched.  `Oh I`m not that special really no I`m not that nice at all no…` which goes on for a while.  `Yes you are, No I`m not, Yes you are, No I`m not`.   It was honest and genuinely humble of Noriko, compared to the hairdresser daughter who really was not that nice (ok in her own way, she wanted the parents to enjoy their stay but you`d have thought she`d take a day off, or accept that they did not want to be on the move all the time at their age, or at least not grumble that her husband bought them nice cakes – how long is it since she`s seen her parents??) and if she had said `I`m not that nice` you would have agreed with her (not that anyone would have said it to her and in fact she might have said `Yeah I`m pretty nice`!!).    I thought it was great of the father and the mother to urge Noriko to move on from their late son.   I thought the bluntness of the suggestion was funny  in how it came out in the subtitles `Forget about Shouji.  He`s dead` which was more `You`d best forget about Shouji` in the original Japanese.   It seems their kids don`t annoy them that much though because they still prefer them to their grandkids.   I loved that line and how they`re congratulating themselves for having kids that were `better than most`.  There are various points of conversation between various characters that made me chuckle.   So, this film has a universal theme about family (ties) really which is all summed up nicely in the last conversation between the old couple`s youngest daughter back in Onomichi and the aforementioned Noriko.

Three of the actors from this are in Tora! Tora! Tora! which I wrote about in a previous post.  At least two of the actresses in this film and the old father are in Good Morning, another film from the same era about a pair of siblings who are demanding that their parents buy a television, which were the new thing back at that time, and they decide to start a silent protest, by refusing to engage in what they consider pointless conversation, until they get what they want.    Really good film by the same director as Tokyo Story.   Highly recommended by moi.


6 thoughts on “The Best of Family Ties

  1. KorubettosHaiku says:

    Sounds like a good film. I have heard of that film actually but have not seen it yet. I have heard of another film that was similar to Tokyo Story but not a remake. Just made in homage to Ozu. It stars Tadanobu Asano. Not sure what it is called though. Enjoy your weekend of Tokyo stories!! : )


  2. After reading your comments, I went to search about this movie, and it seems like you’ve pointed us to a gem! Looking forward to watching it although I’ll brace myself for a slow moving movie filled with Japanese ‘niceties’ and girlish voices!


    • KorubettosHaiku says:

      Hope you enjoy!! Be prepared for a lot of ordinary everyday conversation that you might expect old people to have. It`s hard to describe Noriko`s voice as girlish compared to other actresses who I think overdo the girlishness and sound way too coy in trying to express how humble they feel (so it sounds fake). As for the daughter with the annoying voice, hers is just a lot of adding yoooooo at the end of her sentences. But let me know what you think afterwards (if you think of it) : )


      • Hahahaha A lot of ordinary everyday conversations of old people? Oh boy. I better grab my coffee at the same time! lol Even with all of these … characteristics .. I still feel inclined to watch it! From what I’ve read, it’s a really beautiful and moving film. Thanks for giving me the heads up about it. I probably would never have come across it without your post!


        • KorubettosHaiku says:

          Indeed despite it being so slow going, it`s one you can watch again and again because it`s so sweet. And thank you, it`s nice to know I influenced someone`s film-watching in such a great way : ) I actually found another one last night by the same director Ozu – `An Autumn Afternoon` and it uses a few of the same actors.including the old father again and he plays another father in this, and a very nice one. Actually he`s also the father in Good Morning. I think the director liked to use a regular set of actors but why not if they`re so good.


          • Haha My husband was really surprised when I brought up this movie to him, telling him that I was interested in watching it. It’s very different from my usual choices! Actually, he told me about a remake of the original Tokyo Story movie that was released in 2011 – called Tokyo Kazoku “Tokyo Family”, which I hear is an ode to Ozu, but is set in modern society. My husband said that it was very moving and emotional. Haha Seems like my weekend is filling up quickly!


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