Starring: Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara, Haruko Sugimura, So Yamamura, Kuniko Miyake & Kyoko Kagawa
Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu
A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, Tokyo Story is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple’s journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores.
Criterion’s newly released transfer of Tokyo Story enriches us with a 4K restoration. The colors are vibrant and contrast well with the pure black and white color scheme. The Criterion release of this film has the lowest bitrate comparing to its predecessors and works out real well with the attention of detail in the picture. The 4K restoration is smooth and shows minimal shots of digital artifacts. Contrast flickering can be seen occasionally but can be expected from a film from 1953. The originality of the films restoration gives this vintage film a much needed upgrade from its DVD release. Treated well by Criterion and I am very proud to experience Ozu’s achievement in 1080p HD.
Tokyo Story has a lossless mono audio track with its restoration. Audio sounds clean and crisp with minor static through scene transitions. The sounds of bustling trains and the conversations between the characters pop out at you in realistic echoes. I am very pleased with the audio restoration of this release.
- New digital restoration from a 4K film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
- Audio commentary featuring Yasujiro Ozu scholar David Desser, editor of Ozu’s “Tokyo Story”
- I Lived, But…, a two-hour documentary from 1983 about Ozu’s life and career, featuring interviews with critics and former cast and crew members
- Talking with Ozu, a forty-minute tribute to the director from 1993, featuring the reflections of filmmakers Lindsay Anderson, Claire Denis, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Aki Kaurismaki, Stanley Kwan, Paul Schrader, and Wim Wenders
- Documentary from 1988 about actor Chishu Ryu’s work at Shochiku’s Ofuna Studio, featuring an interview with Ryu
- New English subtitle translation
- One Blu-ray and two DVD’s, with all content available in both formats
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Bordwell
Criterion delivers to fans an exceptional release to a masterpiece. This film was handled with special care and respectability from Criterion and I am blessed to own this version on Blu-ray. Ozu was a master at his work and his films continue to inspire the true events of postwar Japan. The setting and family values and struggles portrayed on screen is just another film with Ozu’s detailed work. At first I was a bit skeptical of the 4K transfer to this film, considering the age and how well Criterion would be able to pull this off. I was proven wrong and am 100% on board to look forward to many more 4K transfers from this company. Good job Criterion!
Production release: Shochiku Ofuna Studio
Video release: Criterion Collection
Number of discs: 3 (2 DVD’s, 1 Blu-ray)
Region ‘A’ locked
Runtime: 136 minutes
Release date: November 19, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Japanese 1152 kbps 1.0
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 (Commentary)