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Seeking to recover the past from the tide of time, Wenders travels to Tokyo in order to find traces of the cinema of famed Japanese auteur Yasujiro Ozu within the modern-day metropolis. Lacing his film with “pillow shots” in the style of Ozu and featuring profoundly moving interviews with Ozu collaborators Chishu Ryu and Yûharu Atsuta, Wenders’ film becomes a lament for Ozu’s Tokyo, contrasting the cinema of his idol with images of neon pachinko parlors, bullet trains, and high-rise office towers. Wenders’ film becomes a portrait not only of one of cinema’s most singular artists but also of a city ready to unceremoniously usher in the postmodern era. “If there were still sanctuaries in our century . . . if there was something like a ‘holy treasure of cinema,’ for me, that would be the work of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. Ozu’s work doesn’t need my appraisal. And such a ‘holy treasure of cinema’ is just imaginary. So my journey to Tokyo was no pilgrimage. I was curious to see if I could discover something from this time, whether something was left of his work, images perhaps, or people even . . . Or if in the twenty years since Ozu’s death so much changed in Tokyo that there was nothing left to be found.”—Wim Wenders.

Genres: Documentary

Other Films by Wim Wenders

The Salt of the Earth

For the last 40 years, Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, witnessing some of the major events of our recent history: international conflicts, starvation, and exodus. After documenting so much human trauma and exploitation, he is now dedicating his talents to revealing pristine territories, wild fauna, and flora as part of

Wim Wenders’ Short Films

Before delving into the world of feature filmmaking, Wenders got his start with several short films made in the last years of the 1960’s, which he shot on both 16mm and 35mm film stock. The films include the structuralist experiment in color entitled Same Player Shoots Again (1967); Silver City (1969), one of Wenders’ student

Buena Vista Social Club

In 1998, Wenders embarked on a trip to Havana with his old friend and collaborator Ry Cooder, who wanted to record a series of musical collaborations with local Cuban musicians. Accompanied by a small film crew, Wenders was able to capture the inception and execution of a project which grew into a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

Until the End of the World

In order to enable his blind wife (Jeanne Moreau) to see, Dr. Farber (Max von Sydow) invents a process that makes it possible to transmit the images recorded in the brains of sighted people directly into the visual systems of blind people. Farber’s son Sam (William Hurt) sets out on a journey around the world

Notebooks on Cities and Clothes

This “diary film,” as Wenders calls it, investigates the similarities of the filmmaking craft to that of the Tokyo-based fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, who, in the early 1980s, shocked and revolutionized the fashion world with his avant-garde designs. Wenders shot the film on his own, without the use of a film crew. During this unusual