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Directed by Wim Wenders

West Germany 1985 92 mins.

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.