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I watched both Woman of Tokyo and An Inn in Tokyo, both silent films.
I agree with you Chyp about the reporters at the end of Woman in Tokyo, it did feel like a prised in bit of social commentary. The mood was already grim without the Sun reporters forcing their way in. Without them it would've ended on a more reflective note and an essay on not repeating gossip! Still, it was really interesting seeing Ozu develop those characteristic glancing away still shots, as well as others like the ones from floor height. Interesting too for the appearence of Kinuyo Tanaka (as the girlfriend Harue) who seemed very familiar to me - on research of course then I realised that she's the star in a lot of Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece films and a director herself .

An Inn In Tokyo follows an unemployed man with two young sons roaming around trying to find a job to support themselves. He's lucky enough to chance upon an old aquaintance who helps him out. In turn he tries to help a woman in the same position as him with a young daughter. This woman is played by the same actress who plays the sister in Woman of Tokyo. Interesting fact - the actress Yoshiko Okada and her boyfriend defected to the USSR , he was executed as a spy and she spent 10 years in a labour camp - there's a film in that somewhere!
Both of these films revolve around the disgrace of a fallen woman, sacrificing herself for her brother/daughter. Very melancholy films



Okuribito
[Departures]

Y˘jir˘ Takita
2008

Unhurried drama revolving around both the dead and the living that manages to intermix poignant and light-hearted moments quite nicely.

The acting is pretty solid all round, even down to the most minor of roles, and the narrative is told in a manner that I found quite engaging. In terms of pace it is generally a slow-moving affair but imo that is effective for the character growth within the story whilst also allowing a level of gravitas that much of what is being depicted deserves.

Its use of humour to lighten proceedings is for the most part well judged and likewise the dramatic elements are rarely overplayed, though I do have to say that for me there is a tendency toward over sentimentality on occasion. The tale does get rather predictable in the final act (the flashbacks and personal exposition tell us all too easily where the story is likely to end up) but I don't think that necessarily lessens any emotional impact of those scenes and I still found it a rather rewarding watch.

Departures is a work that has a healthy respect for the dead alongside a love for the living and I'm more than happy to give it a
+
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Almost famous for having nailed Madonna once



Many thanks to @MijaFrost for being so thoughtful as to let me know the above was available for viewing on YT and to @christine for bringing the film up in conversation in the first place.



Nice of you to pop back in Arigatō-san.

Arigatō!

Speaking of which, I must recommend my namesake, played by a young Ken Uehara.

Hiroshi Shimizu's Mr. Thank You: a very beautiful early road film.


Of the ones you watched this month, I think I'm interested to watch The Birth of SakÚ and maybe Cyborg girl for popcorn filler. But if it's on Netflix, is there anywhere else to watch? Not a Netflix person myself.




Christine,

I think I Was Born, But ... and the original A Story of Floating Weeds are the two best silent Ozu films, but An Inn in Tokyo is a near masterpiece for me. It was neo-realism before neo-realism, made 13 years before Bicycle Thieves. I found the ending too simplified and unsatisfying, but everything else about the film was cutting edge cinema for 1935, despite it being one of the last major silent movies ever made.



Glad you liked it Chyp. Somehow the rituals reminded me of the tea ceremony.
Absolutely, I think that's probably primarily down to the way the hands are held and the hold then rotated.



Arigatō!

Speaking of which, I must recommend my namesake, played by a young Ken Uehara.

Hiroshi Shimizu's Mr. Thank You: a very beautiful early road film.


Of the ones you watched this month, I think I'm interested to watch The Birth of SakÚ and maybe Cyborg girl for popcorn filler. But if it's on Netflix, is there anywhere else to watch? Not a Netflix person myself.
I'm not a Netflix person myself either - we only have it 'cos the wife does a lot of travelling in her business and downloads series to her lappy for watching when she's on the road/away. I rarely even kick it up myself.

I've honestly no idea whether The Birth of SakÚ is available anywhere else tbh and I picked up Cyborg Girl on dvd for buttons so no idea about possible availability of that one either.
Sorry - I really am absolutely no use at all when it comes to locating things online

I've noted Mr. Thank You in my (exceedingly long) list of potential watches.



One I've owned for quite a while and not yet got round to watching is Rapture which was partly the inspiration for this thread and a viewing I'm looking forward to and hoping to find enjoyable.



Allright, added to my watch-list.. I'll check out one of these three in Debuary;
Ghost World
The Last Picture Show
Rapture



The Way Way Back

Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
2013

Coming-of-age comedy drama that's hardly original and like the central character takes a while to get into any groove and find its own voice.

Liam James is decent enough as the central character, Duncan, feeling alienated from his own parents as they both concentrate more on their new relationships and from society in general as a result of being the product of a broken marriage. Sam Rockwell does well enough playing the pivotal role which allows Duncan the wherewithal to grow but some of the situations that foment that growth are rather forced and not only is Rockwell's character's own need for growth rather clichÚd and yawnsome it also makes his mentoring young Duncan less believable. Just about every other character was one-dimensional.

The humour is generally pretty unsophisticated but it has to be said that some of it does work reasonably well and the soundtrack is nicely selected and compliments well imo. That it all builds to a somewhat twee conclusion is only to be expected and in the film's favour it at least has the nous to keep it relatively concise and not go over the top.

The Way Way Back seems to be fairly well thought of judging from IMDb (a rating of 7+ from 130k+ votes at time of writing) but it's a little too brash in places for my taste, lacks any real originality and doesn't really have that much heart so sadly I can only give it a



Gave Homeless To Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (Peter Levin, 2003) a run out this morning - it does fit the theme for the month imo but it's really not worth me writing up this made-for-television bio-drama as, despite the natural promise of a story about a teen from a disadvantaged background that pursues academic learning and turns things around by herself, it's actually presented quite blandly imo.



I might be missing something but how does Coming of Age = Debuary?
The 'Deb' in Debruary is denoting debs balls which is what we call our equivalent of American school proms.



Weird is relative.
Debutante, right?