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.