Tokyo-Ga. 1985. West Germany/USA. Directed by Wim Wenders. In Japanese, English; English subtitles. 92 min.
With Chishu Ryu, Yuharu Atsuta, Werner Herzog, Chris Marker. Inspired by the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, Wenders journeyed to Tokyo to make this richly tangential essay film. “I was curious as to whether I still could track down something from this time, whether there was still anything left of this work,” Wenders explains in a voiceover. “Images perhaps, or even people…. Or whether so much would have changed in Tokyo in the twenty years since Ozu’s death that nothing would be left to find.” He does find captivating images, of a crowded yet lonely pachinko parlor, of a teenage rockabilly group performing for passersby in a park, of skilled artisans crafting uncannily realistic plastic models of sushi for restaurant displays. He also pays visits to Ozu’s leading man, Chishu Ryu, and Ozu’s cinematographer, Yûharu Atsuta, whose account of their decades-long collaboration is extraordinarily moving. New digital restoration.