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TOKYO GA

West Germany / USA, 1985 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Wim Wenders

1982 inaugurated a series of events in Rome, organised by a group of die hard cinephiles who clubbed together in a co-operative called Mission Impossible. Their aim was to ask a variety of filmmakers to select extracts or films by directors they admired, or had learnt something from, and to talk about their conception of cinema by means of other people's work. The series was called "Stolen Cinema" and became a huge success with 3,000 to 4,000 people turning up for what effectively turned into two months of workshops and serious discussions on the nature of the cinema. Wenders set the tone by showing Tokyo Story in place of the advertised State of Things, which had won the Golden Lion in Venice only two days before. Far from complaining, the huge crowd sat entranced by Ozu's magnificent film and engaged in a formidable exchange with Wenders, who was visibly moved by the success of the operation. Since then he has been working on a documentary about Ozu which has grown to take in attitudes and responses to Japanese culture in general, and what Ozu would make of contemporary Japanese images. Tokyo Ga is the result - subtitled In Search of Ozu.

- Don Ranvaud

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