Cafe Lumiere [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Top Customer Reviews
The absence of a grand narrative allow the attention to small details to slowly but persistently paint an essence of life in Tokyo and Japan and of the relation ship between parent and child. In such a way the second character Hajime, who is obsessed with trains attempts to capture the essence of the Tokyo railways by regularly riding the trains and standing on the platforms with a microphone recording for hours the repetitive and everyday sounds of the tracks.
The movie is a homage to Yasujiro Ozu by director Hou Hsiao-hsien, viewers may also detect an influence from the books of Haruki Murakami - in the convincing descriptions of the mundane and ordinary, Hajime's idiosyncratic obsession, and the allusion to the fantastic and mystical when Yoko finds the strange dream that she had a few nights before eerily similar to a story in a children's fairy tale book about Goblins. To those that liked this movie I would recommend Murakami's books and the movie Chunking Express.
Ozu was a director primarily concerned with the world as seen through the eyes of the shomingeki (domestic family drama) and from Late Spring (1949) through to his final An Autumn Afternoon (1962) together with screenwriter Noda Kōgo he charted the social transition that took place in Japan following World War II and the resulting American occupation. He saw family as the center of Japanese society. Once tight and very protective of their own, families became looser after the war. Children (especially girls) received increasing freedom to go their own way without the traditional need for discussion or consensus.Read more ›
Did he succeed? I think so, due to the fact that he manages to put the spectator in the place of Yoko, a young woman that is pregnant but doesn't feel like marrying her boyfriend, a grown man that remains too attached to his mother. As we watch "Cafe Lumiere", we want to know what she thinks, and how she is going to react to the new development in her life. The spectator is also interested in her friend, a bookstore owner that seems romantically interested in Yoko, and that has an unlikely but strangely poetic hobby.
Are you likely to enjoy this movie? I really don't know, because "Café Lumiere" is a peculiar movie, the kind that some love, but others hate. I can tell you that it is a beautifully made film that pays extraordinary attention to little details, but that has an extremely open ending. Can you like that kind of film? According to your answer, you will know what to do...
- Belen Alcat, June 2007 -
PS: I liked "Café Lumiere" well enough to give it at least 3 stars out of 5.
Amazon product details promise "Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1". But specification on the sleeve reads "16:9 Letterbox" and so it is - a picture in the middle of your screen, taking up about half its size. And even on such a small screen the image quality is quite poor. This needs a TV screen up to 42" and a DVD player with a powerful PQ enhancement. At first I thought it's an artistic stylization, some kind of tribute, that would dissolve after the credit sequence. It didn't...
Another issue is subtitles - English, yes, but hardcoded and with a font making them illegible when background goes bright.
And sound quality wasn't impressive either, far from it...
So, the disc quality itself would get a clear 1-star rating. Still I don't know the technical limitation of a source material and after all let's be grateful such films are available at all. Hence the extra 2 stars.
Really, after the initial resentment eased off, I put the disc back into my player and it took me just a few minutes to forget all about the poor transfer quality, such was a beauty of this film. So, don't let yourself be put off by grumblers like me and go for films like that, whatever the quality of their presentation is.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read all the other reviews and I think whether one is positive or negative about this film depends on whether one appreciates and enjoys the kind of films made by Ozu This... Read morePublished 7 months ago by J. R. Dersley
Movie: 3.5 stars; Bonus materials: 4.5 stars
"Cafe Lumiere" (2003 release from Japan; 104 min. Read more
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien homage to Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu known for his static camera shot , fascination of everyday life, slow empty pauses. Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2010 by K. C. Man
It would be fair to say that if you're the type of person who needs 'something to happen'- i.e. a plot hook, to involve you in a film experience then it would be best you avoid... Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2007 by cutpricechemist
I am very interested in Japanese films at the moment and I am trying to see a wide spectrum of different styles but... Read morePublished on 9 May 2007 by J. Collins