Monday, 12 February 2001
Tokyo Story (1953)
An ageing couple journey to the city to visit their grown-up children…but their children don’t have time for them anymore. Funny how a low, static camera and the customary restraint of Japanese manners can combine to such emotive effect. But then every shot of Yasujiru Ozu’s 1953 classic looks like a masterpiece, and every scene turns on a nuance in the unspoken disintegration of a family.
When thirty years later Jim Jarmusch came to shoot his debut release, Stranger Than Paradise, he borrowed liberally from the method: deadpanning with the camera, while mimicking Ozu’s trademark ‘pillow shots’ with a lingering black screen between scenes. In doing so he showed how audiences can be made to care about the minutiae of quirky, inconsequential characters…and a defining ‘indie’ film-making style was minted.