1962, Janus Films, 113 min, Japan, Dir: Yasujirô Ozu

The final film from master director Yasujirô Ozu touches upon many of his favorite themes: marriage, family ties, generation gaps and loneliness among them. Ozu regular Chishû Ryû stars as salaryman Hirayama, a widower who lives contentedly with his daughter and youngest son. But a night out drinking with a former teacher (Eijirō Tōno) prompts Hirayama to wonder if he has consigned his daughter to a life of spinsterhood. One of Ozu’s few color films, this understated drama puts his famously meticulous shot compositions to excellent use.

1953, Janus Films, 136 min, Japan, Dir: Yasujirô Ozu

Revered master director Yasujirô Ozu dealt with the pathos, poetry and humor of everyday family life in Japan, and his most highly regarded masterwork is, without question, this heart-rending drama of elderly parents (Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama) leaving their provincial home village to visit their indifferent grown-up children in the city. As in all of Ozu’s pictures, there is a deceptively simple presentation of commonplace events that nevertheless, by the end, have drawn on deep wellsprings of emotion. One of Ozu’s greatest talents was in showing these feelings as universal, as part of the human condition and not specific to Japan; and it is well nigh impossible not to be moved by his films. Named the greatest film of all time by directors in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll.

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