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Honoring Parents, Ozu Style

by Karen S. Kingsbury

This clip begins with the sightseeing tour of Tokyo, useful for thinking about the ways that Ozu frames the city, and Hou Hsiao-hsien reframes it in Cafe Lumiere. Hou's reframing is even more evident in the following scene, in which Noriko offers dinner to her parents-in-law. In both cases, the main meal is take-out, as is common among inhabitant's of East Asia's "city boxes" (cf. Frederick Jameson's description of Taipei's denizens). Here, this meal pattern also helps director and audience to focus on the human interactions among family members. How does Hou's reframing both repeat and rework this classic Ozu scene?

Tokyo Story: A Meal with Parents

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Noriko takes her parents-in-law sightseeing, then invites them home for dinner

from Tokyo Story (1953)
Creator: Yasujiro Ozu
Distributor: Shochiku, Criterion
Posted by Karen S. Kingsbury