Saturday, July 30, 2011

Café Lumière

Hsiao-hsien Hou, Japan, 2003 (8.6*)

I can't explain why, but for some reason I found this movie to be poignantly moving, more so than other films of Taiwan master Hsiao-hsien Hou. Made for the centernary of Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu (the 100th anniversary of his birth), Hou has made a film of similar pace, but one which is decidely Hou's.

Personally, I grew up loving trains, especially trips on them that lasted overnight. In one regard, this film is an homage to Tokyo's trains, as one character, a used bookstore manager (charismatic Tadanobu Asano), does artwork about them, and even records the sounds of each when he has time. Lead character Yoko (played by Yo Hitoto) spends much time in aimless train rides without a real destination, which becomes a metaphor of her own personal relationships.

There's a certain honesty in the human relationships portrayed here, especially how people are cordial but rarely connect on a deep interpersonal level, something the main character seems to avoid. Most of these scenes appear improvised, but with pleasant results; in one scene a dog keeps peeking in from the background and literally steals the scene away from the human actors by not doing much but acting like a natural dog.

For me, the final shot of multiple trains crisscrossing each other in a silent ballet of city life in action is one of the more poetic and lyrical closing shots in all of cinema. [See photo below]. The film won a Golden Tulip award in Istanbul, while actress Hitoto won a Japanese Academy Award for Newcomer of the Year.


About Me

My photo
Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

About This Blog

This is our new template: ProBlogger.

These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

Author at EZines

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by 2008

Back to TOP