Leave it to Yasujiro Ozu to make a movie over eighty years ago (in his home country of Japan, of course) that is more relevant today than the vast majority of films that were produced in 2014. Ozu was a social realist to the core, even when he was ostensibly making a comedy. That is why his 1931 Tokyo Chorus can have silly slapstick in one scene, and then wrenching family and economic drama in the next. The protagonist, Okajima, having been fired from his insurance job for standing up to his boss, can't find a new occupation because his college degree makes him "overqualified." How many people does this happen to even today? We may not be in a depression like the Japanese were at the time, but we are nevertheless experiencing similar issues. 

Even once Okajima gets a job, it is located so far away that he and his family can't help but have to uproot themselves—an expensive prospect in its own right—lending a bittersweet flavor to the otherwise good news. The film ends with a series of uneasy looks between the protagonist and the man who got him the job: no matter how positive an upturn things seem to be having, there is always an undercurrent of sadness beneath it. Ozu realized this perhaps better than any of his peers, if not all time.

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