‘You simply keep silent.’

To mark the centenary of ‘s start, made his personal , “Café Lumière,” a movie with Hou’s individuality, however stuffed with delicate nuances in tribute to the Japanese grasp. The household drama will get a modern-day setting, with cultural change seen throughout the generations.  

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Yoko (Taiwanese-Japanese musician ) is a journalist who switches her time between Tokyo and Taiwan. Researching Taiwanese composer Wen-Ye Jiang, she seeks out a restaurant the composer frequented when primarily based in Tokyo. And in tribute to Ozu, who favored dialogue over story, that’s about that by way of plot.

Family and its altering nature is a theme hinted at all through, with Yoko being pregnant by her boyfriend in Taiwan. However, she has a considerably blasé angle in the direction of the being pregnant, and certainly her boyfriend; unconcerned as as to whether she sees him once more, not to mention permitting him to father his little one. Still related in the present day, this very a lot matches the reported Twenty-first Century angle amongst youthful Japanese of intercourse and relationships as ‘bothersome.’

Yoko’s father () appears unimpressed along with her angle, whereas her step-mother tries to do what she will be able to to please her. Living within the countryside, their visiting her in her small Tokyo condominium is paying homage to Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” (1953), with the elders feeling misplaced within the fashionable metropolis; her father sustaining silence. Her lack of hospitality additionally mirrors Ozu’s masterpiece, borrowing meals and sake from neighbors, but in addition treating her mother and father as a burden.

This is a modernising of Ozu’s tackle the empowerment of girls, as seen within the likes of “” (1960), the place a youthful feminine shuns the standard expectations positioned upon her. Four a long time alongside the road, not simply rejecting the concepts of organized marriage, Yoko is kind of content material to sort out the being pregnant alone and proceed her seek for Jiang. But Hou contains some warning, as she finds herself alone on a prepare station platform feeling sick.

Trains are an vital theme in “Café Lumière,” as indicated by means of Hajima (), Yoko’s bookshop employee pal and Tokyo rail community obsessive: recording the varied sounds and creating digital paintings of Tokyo’s trains. The sounds he information, such because the notorious Yamanote Line station bulletins, are a part of modern-day Tokyo life, as was the rising presence of neon lights on the cityscape of Ozu’s later work.

Here, Tokyo is morphing right into a modern-day megalopolis – a complicated and sprawling mass of railway networks. The gradual pictures of trains chugging alongside are an Ozu staple, however listed here are equally a fantastically ugly picture of the fashionable metropolis, with Tokyo the true star of the movie. As with Wim Wenders’ seek for Ozu in “Tokyo-Ga” (1985), this can be a documentation, the forged much less performing, however filmed as they go concerning the duties they’re requested to carry out.

Viewed in isolation, “Café Lumière” is a gradual piece with little actually occurring. But considered as an Ozu tribute, this can be a movie stuffed with nuance for the initiated, as many seek for the hidden world of the Japanese grasp.  

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