Die Reise nach Tokio
Yasujirō Ozu, Japan, 1953o
When Shukichi and Tomi arrive in Tokyo after a long journey, they quickly realise that their two oldest children Koichi and Shige have little time for them. Koichi is a doctor, Shige runs a beauty salon. The parents only get real attention from their daughter-in-law, who was widowed during the war, then they are shipped off to a seaside resort where they like it even less. When they leave again, the father falls ill.
The most famous film by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) probably owes its reputation to the agglomeration of classic Ozu themes and qualities, which come together here in the universal story of a couple's disappointment with their adult children and the fragility of the ganaration contract. As almost always in Ozu's work, one watches a zero plot (the visit of the old parents to their children in Tokyo), as always, seemingly bare everyday occurrences, at best anecdotal events and conversations full of platitudes. Crucial, however, is the unsaid behind the words, the subliminal cruelty in the steady stream of politeness: The parents are above all a nuisance to the older son and daughter, the children have enough on their plate with their own ambitions. And the daughter-in-law, widowed during the war? She, the married woman, completes the course tactfully, but with her unlived life in the tightly conventional Japanese post-war society, she is the even more tragic figure than the parents. Do people tell each other all this? - At most between the lines. Do they give an account of themselves? - Of course not: suppression has a systematic character. It is the real drama.Andreas Furler