I think that is self-evident due to his technique, don’t you?
I am never sure of anything. And looking at the wide range of reactions here, I don’t think I can, beyond applying my own bias, which is why I was interested in knowing what sort of attitude he had.
How are these portrayed positively? The only way you really know there was a war happened at all is mostly because they talk about their dead sons and some small comments about houses being gone. It’s like a way to put the war in the movie without actually doing anything with the war or mentioning the war much at all which is also something you kind of see a lot in Japanese media. it’s like the war has this lasting and ever changing, catalytic affect but they don’t really talk about it because then they’d have to acknowledge a few things that aren’t very pleasant to acknowledge. I am not really sure why he put a tiny piece of the war in here at all except to maybe elicit some unearned remorse.
The daughter is able to run an (apparently) successful business. As well, no one is losing “all my sons” anymore. In his (admittedly muted) way, Ozu shows us the material and social progress hat is occurring in this New Japan that is booming. The War does haunt this film. From the realization of Noriko’s situation onward.
Ozu just treats the material improvements (which already advanced beyond the Pre-War situation, materially, by 1953…they hadn’t just rebuilt, they had moved beyond, say, 1930 in terms of material benefits available to the general population) and the Social progress as a self-evident “given”. He’s just righteously letting us ask (he doesn’t come out and do anything, to our “Neutrality” conversation,@Left_Empty) is while we are modernizing, if we think we are leaving anything behind that we might want. Potent and thoughtful question, that. I don’t think I have any answers o that. But it is a melancholy and meditative question.
By the way, I am glad you started commenting on the film. Talking about it, and getting the discussion churning about it makes me come to realizations about it.
Well at the cost of being selfish awful person. I didn’t see that as a positive. If that movie was supposed to portray city-life and what happens to people who move there as positive, I just didn’t feel it. I really didn’t think the city group, any of them, came off as a this is progress kind of vibe at all.
Or more precisely, I saw what they were leaving behind but the positive did not shine through.
Yeah, and this part I think is what may get lost on current generations when viewing the film. As I alluded to above, Just the way the city is portrayed, and the things available to everyone is a vast improvement over the 30s (forget the war…). And the class structures are just demolished in the film compared to the past (how people dress, walk and talk, compared to the 30s). But that stuff is definitely not self-evident to a 2018 viewer.
Their daughter-in-law came across positively from the city. She was still very respectful and trying to be as unselfish as possible. She also seemed to have a healthy working environment in Tokyo, though it was hard to tell from just the brief glimpses we got of her work place.
I think that’s why I viewed her story as overall positive in a very dark movie otherwise. A ray of hope. While at the same time, her own personal story and fate are fairly tragic.
She was miserable though, even lied about it, to them, about being content. It was a faux smile. Yes she was respectful, and considerate and everything I imagine they hoped their children would be but she has… basically nothing and is lonely. What she has, that progress stuff, didn’t really lead to happiness.
I am not sure I can really forget the war part, but I aware of the situation in Japan and the other countries that made those places ripe for the decisions they made about the war. Maybe just the fact that there is a train, that they all have jobs and homes is supposed to be enough to show this progress but even the way they talked about taking mourning clothes with them, just in case, it’s like they lost their humanity to get those things… not just the little things from the country, the ability to slow down and to appreciate their last moments with their parents, but… they very warmth of human soul. I don’t even remember them showing love and warmth with their kids really, just the grandma. They weren’t portrayed as monsters, and it’s mostly implied the parents must love their kids but he chose to show their lack of empathy and compassion, so that’s what noticed and that was not replaced or filled with look at this progress either.
But if that is how others see it, then at least that might make sense why some people like this movie way more than I did.
I meant in the sense of “Forget the material progress made just from rebuilding after the war, the material circumstances of the average citizen are blatantly superior to those of the 20s or 30s” when I said “forget about the War” in that earlier response. :)
There was regular starvation amongst the population due to rice shortages and all sorts of epidemics and disease problems in “developed” Japan pre-war. So Ozu, or a viewer in '53 would just “get” that and see Tokyo as like a Tomorrowland exhibit at Disneyworld. It’s harder for us to wear those same goggles viewing it today.
I followed you. Large parts of Japan was decimated. They had to be, literally rebuilt, there was nothing left. I get it. Those families we are looking at, I would guess, are middle class families here, doctors, physicians, some train employee or something, not directly part of the crew that turned rubble into a street.
And this is very hard to judge from the two fold distance. One is that the Japanese cultural presentation of familial affection is different than our US centric one, the other is the period. Now I know you are aware of these things, but for me it does stop me from judging them too harshly, because I am not qualified to do so.
Like Noriko, she only lets the mask slip at the end. You can, not incorrectly, point out how she is being fake and putting on a show for her in laws. Absolutely true. But I can’t judge her for that. The social dynamics at play are different, so maybe that was the appropriate or proper way to behave. The other children seem to let the mask drop more, and they don’t come off well for it.
Well, I agree, and I think that is what Ozu is saying. I think this isn’t the kind of film where you feel “good” coming away, but that you think and have these kinds of conversations afterwards. To me that falls into the category of a “good and worthwhile” film.
It also falls into the category of a Film I may not want to see again for some time.
It is a very, very different society from ours.
I am amazed that Ozu managed to convey all this.
I’ll renew my statement nothing has changed.
I’ll take you at your word!
Well, I think very specific historical details (how sumptuous the new Tokyo would appear to someone who lived in Japan pre-War) are not that obvious, but agree with your larger point: The period isn’t an obstacle to understanding the film. The family part could be @CraigM . But not to this discussion group.
I am, but I stayed with a family who had kids and a dog. They were just like many families in the USA. They hug, laugh cry… It’s not as stark of a difference as you might expect, at least not with some families. This camera was in their home, not just pointing at them in the street. If they’re going to make some comment about being privileged enough to sleep in her dead son’s bed, I would assume he would have had an opportunity to show some of the less profound moments… so why didn’t he? You could say he only wanted to focus on the less mundane except some of the conversations, like when the grandparents are packing, are pretty mundane, or when their friend walks by and says what most would say is some oddball and not very considerate comment too. He is picking and choosing which moments to highlight and which to basically ignore. I am not sure I follow or appreciate why he made the choices he did.
Yeah, the fakeness, once you recognize it for what it is, is very challenging to deal with. It’s also often misconstrued as politeness. There is a line though because most want to be polite, even to strangers, when they’re out and about, and even with family but the cultural differences in this area are notable. Noriko being miserable and not showing it, actually flat-out lying about it on more than one occasion, is just sad to me. It’s not that I hold it against her so much as it means her story, her experience, was not positive, either.
Well I used to live in Japan, not for very long, and of course not in the 50s, so I have some awareness of what is going on here and what is not being shown. I question why. I don’t do old movies, and I have not researched Ozu nor will I, but I am going to assume he made these choices for a reason, but that reason just doesn’t work… for me.
I took her story far more simply, but just as sadly. The parents are her only connection to her husband, the man she loved. He’s gone. Spending time with them helps keep the happy memories alive, and the loneliness (that The Grandfather must now face) at bay. For a while. She has to live with it when they are not visiting.
It’s sad, and making me melancholic while writing this. I was going to do a second formalized post on Noriko being the "“oldest soul” as she is facing the loneliness that only the Grandfather now, a the end, must face as well. In a society and world that only enhances that loneliness in its rush to the future. But i didn’t write it ‘cause it was makin’ me sad.
Imma nominating an action film for next month…
EDIT: Thanks for nominating this, @charmtrap. It made me think, puzzle and question my reactions. That is a good thing
I already declared my nomination. And while I can appreciate going into things a little off the beaten path, I’m all for mixing it up next month. Keeping it a little more modern and/or mainstream.
Knowing your tastes I’d be more than fine with a Fistful of Dollars or Where Eagles Dare rewatch.
Aahh, that is so sad. The movie clearly moved you.
I will say this, I am not sure how long i will keep up with this movie club, but it is definitely mentioning movies I have never seen or heard of and will probably get me to see things I never would have otherwise. This is probably a good thing even if I grumble a bit.
I also appreciate folks hearing me out about my experience.with this first go around.
Please keep up. You keep me talkin. I wouldn’t have started talking about the “too sad” part unless this back and forth went down today. That goes for everyone who is commenting in this thread, even for a few sentences.