Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Chieko Higashiyama and Setsuko Hara, in one of the Ozu film's most poignant scenes.
The Siren begins to track her movie viewing with short posts, and leads with a heavyweight champ in the awestriking Tokyo Story. I saw this last week at the Cinematheque Ontario, a nice space that has defrosted my Bad Toronto Attitude quite a bit. There was a long wait to get into the theater and so I overheard the following conversation, varying only slightly, three different times from three different couples:
"The paper said it's better than Citizen Kane."
"But I didn't like Citizen Kane."
There is some sort of Kane-hating epidemic happening in this town, and the Siren intends to write the Toronto City Council and advise them to nip that in the bud, but quick. I am confining myself to the briefest of remarks, for fear of killing Tokyo Story with kindness as some apparently have managed to kill the Welles film. For the record, the two movies have little in common except greatness. The Ozu film has the stately pace of a long novel, giving you the same inside-out understanding of its characters that you get from a great book. Its power lies in the slow accretion of detail, until something as simple as a child picking flowers or an old couple taking a bus tour has more impact than many a battle scene. The closing images will haunt the Siren for a long time.