Scripts on Films (May 2017)

Metrograph’s Introduction on The Makioka Sisters: Among the greatest Japanese films of the 1980s, Kon Ichikawa’s wistful adaptation of Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s novel about the four daughters of a prosperous Osaka family in decline, set in the before-the-storm year of 1938, is a movie marked by moments of unspoken longing and overpowering beauty (a parade of gorgeous kimono fabrics, a viewing of the spring cherry blossoms) born forth on an anachronistic-yet-somehow-perfect synth score. At once a touching requiem for both the prewar era and classic Japanese cinema.

Metrograph’s Introduction on Tokyo Story: One of the greatest of all Japanese motion pictures. Ozu’s style, now completely refined, utterly economical, creates a film that is unforgettable because it is so right, so true, and also because it demands so much from its audience. Evasions of any sort are rare in an Ozu picture, but here there are none at all. Two generations, a simple story that allows all the characters to change places, a pervading delineation of high summer, and the deceptive simplicity of the film’s style—all these combine to create a picture so Japanese and at the same time so personal, and hence so universal that it becomes a masterpiece. — Donald Richie

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