Tokyo boshoku

Black and White . 140 minutes

Shochiku Ofuna Studio

Written By

Ozu Yasujiro
Noda Kogo


Atsuta Yuharu

Music By

Satio Kojun


Hara Setsuko (Numata Takako)
Arima Ineko (Sugiyama Akiko)
Ryu Chishu (Sugiyama Shukichi)
Yamada Isuzu (Soma Kisako)
Takahashi Teiji (Kawaguchi Noburo)
Taura Masami (Kimura Kenji)
Sugimura Haruko (Takeuchi Shigeko)
Yamamura So (Sekiguchi Seki)
Shin Kinzo (Numata Yasuo)
Fujiwara Kamatari (Noodle Vendor)
Nakamura Nobuo (Aiba Sakae)


Middle-aged banker Sugiyama presides over a troubled household. His eldest daughter Takako has returned home with her baby girl following a rift with her alcoholic, abusive husband. The younger daughter, Akiko, has an unwanted pregnancy, and searches in vain in Tokyo's seedier quarters for her boyfriend Kenji. In a matter of days, Akiko goes through police detention, an abortion and a fraught reunion with her long-lost mother. The discovery that she had run off with her father's subordinate proves too much for her, and she commits suicide. After her death, Takako decides to have another go at her marriage for her daughter's sake. Sugiyama is left alone in his house.

Thoughts from Ozu
Although the film had been said to be about a young woman's transgression, for me, the emphasis was first and foremost on Ryu Chishu's life - how a man whose wife has deserted him would cope. The focus was directed at the older generation. As for the younger generation, it merely served as parallel. However, most people only had eyes for what was intended as embellishment on the main theme.

he 48th film, shot from January to April 1957. After Early Spring, Ozu wanted to use a scenario that he had written about 20 years before. It had been filmed by Uchida Tomu, and the resulting Unending Advance (Kagirinaki zenshin, 1937) was highly appraised, but was probably different from Ozu's own intentions. This scenario was considered as too sad. Finally Tokyo Twilight was made, but this film is even more melancholic. Apart from his very first films, Ozu always depicted the life of the family. However, probably not the typical Japanese. He Seldom showed a family of three generations living together in his pre-war films, although this was quite usual at that time. (Ozu's family structure during the time at Fukagawa was the same.) Buddhist and Shintoist altars, that existed in almost every household, almost never appear in his films. Moreover, his families are often incomplete, lacking a member. Father and son(s), brother(s) and sister(s), father and daughter(s) and so on. Even in Early Summer, one son died at war, and the couple in Early Spring has lost its baby. These incomplete families continue to exist until Ozu's very last film. However, the circumstances of the missing members are not investigated in the film. Therefore, a film that centers on these very circumstances can be considered as very unusual. This film is Tokyo Twilight. The scene is set in a house around Zoshigaya in Tokyo, yet another different form of "uptown". One daughter returns home because of he marriage problems, and the other daughter moves in inappropriate circles. However, this family lacks the mother. Slowly, the story reveals that she had run away with a man and now runs a mahjong salon on Gotanda. The presence (and at the same time absence) of the mother throws a dark shade on the other family members' lives, reminding us of East of Eden (1955) which was very popular at that time. The unhappy relation of father and mother (man and woman) is represented by the confrontation and tension between Zoshigawa and Gotanda, that is between "uptown" and the old quarters shitamachi. The daughter is torn between these two places and finally destroyed din between. In appearance, the film seems to criticize the dissipated life of the youth, but behind this actual plot, it involves a conceptual theme, as if representing a clash in Ozu's inner feelings. Maybe for this reason, Noda had arguments with Ozu during the screenplay writing, and opposed the completed film. Despite Ozu's self-confidence, Tokyo Twilight is generally considered as a failure among his works.

Personal Thoughts and Comments
Tokyo Twilight is again reminiscent of Ozu's quintessential post-war themes and minimalist style that made him one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time. His trademarks are again evident here but in a much darker way then any other Ozu film. From the grim opening shots of the film, Tokyo Twilight establishes it's dark tone. Themes of marriage, isolation, and parent/child communication (or lack there of) are again expressed through Ozu's masterful cinematic language and trademark visual compositions and cast. Tokyo Twilight carries a pessimism and despair with issues of death, abortion, and adultery that make it Ozu's darkest film. Fittingly Tokyo Twilight is the last black and white film Ozu made before moving to color with his 1958 film Equinox Flower. Ozu-regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara are once again outstanding as the single father and elder sister, and the film features a fine performance from Ineko Arima, who was starring in her first film for Ozu (he would cast her again in his next film). As usual Hara is especially terrific, here as the sister who's emotions are torn. Under Ozu direction, Hara has such an ability at capturing the most complex emotions through the smallest of gestures. Tokyo Twilight is a masterpiece achievement from one of the very greatest filmmakers in the world of cinema. To me this rates among the best films Ozu ever made.

Film Images

"Pillow Shots"
A clip from Tokyo Twilight
dvd (R1)    (R3)