Tokyo-Ga | Chicago Reader

Tokyo-Ga

In this 1985 documentary Wim Wenders goes to Tokyo in search of the transcendent beauty he associates with the films of Yasujiro Ozu, but instead he finds mostly soulless, routinized behavior. He posits various reasons for this state of affairs—the postwar Westernization of Japan, the people's obsession with order, the rise of television with its easily digestible images—but lands on no easy explanation. He takes solace in interviewing people who worked with Ozu (actor Chishu Ryu, cinematographer Yuharu Atsuta), and their moving testimonies reveal the sort of loyalty and sympathy that Wenders finds lacking in Japanese street life. Compared with Chris Marker's Sans Soleil (1982), another outsider's take on Japan, this feels lightweight, but it contains some hypnotic passages and Wenders's narration provides plenty to chew on.

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