• Release Date:
Café Lumière Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: A residential neighborhood in Tokyo, 2003. Yoko, a freelance writer researching musical legend Jiang Ewn-Ye, befriends Hajime, the owner of a secondhand bookstore. They spend many hours together in the district's coffee shops and train stations. Yoko feels she can tell the quiet, calm HajimeA residential neighborhood in Tokyo, 2003. Yoko, a freelance writer researching musical legend Jiang Ewn-Ye, befriends Hajime, the owner of a secondhand bookstore. They spend many hours together in the district's coffee shops and train stations. Yoko feels she can tell the quiet, calm Hajime anything. When she is with him, she experiences an unusual peace of mind, a calmness of spirit. For his part, Hajime loves Yoko profoundly, but remains silent. Raised in rural Hokkaido by her near-blind uncle, Yoko now enjoys a good relationship with her father and step-mother. But when she returns to her father's house and tells them she is pregnant, and that she has no intention of marrying the Taiwanese father, they worry deeply for Yoko's future. (Wild Bunch) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Hou's sensitivity plus Ozu's inspiration equals sublimity of sight and sound.
  2. Hou's best film since "The Puppetmaster" (1993). It's also his most minimalist effort to date, slow to reveal its depths and beauties, and it marks a rejuvenation of his art.
  3. It's a film objet d'art to contemplate and treasure.
  4. 80
    Exquisitely understated.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    The film is an original work by a filmmaker who throughout his career has absorbed the best of what Ozu had to teach, and as such it stands as beautiful tribute from one master to another.
  6. Café Lumière stands in relation to "Tokyo Story" as a faint, diminished echo. It is nonetheless a fascinating curiosity, a chance to witness one major filmmaker paying tribute to another in the form of a rigorously minor film.
  7. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    60
    Hou fans will find what they're looking for; others will wonder when the action starts.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. TNgo
    Jan 27, 2006
    10
    Wonderful. Hou pays homage to Ozu, but manages to evoke a message of his own.
  2. ChadS.
    May 12, 2006
    6
    When we finally learn something about Yoko (Yo Hitoto), it's that she's a writer. Yoko goes to a book store and asks the clerk When we finally learn something about Yoko (Yo Hitoto), it's that she's a writer. Yoko goes to a book store and asks the clerk about a musician she's doing research on. This is surprising, because up to this point, the only thing we know about her is that she rides the bus. Writers' block, perhaps, brought upon by the anxiety over her pregnancy? Since we never do see any coroborating evidence that she's a scribe. Hou Hsiao-hsien once again establishes his love for the static camera, and the framing of people in doorways. "Cafe Lumiere" has the advantage over "Millenium Mambo" of having its scenes bathed in daylight. Tokyo in the sun is easier on the eyes, much more so than nightclubs and murky apartments. But with the exception of "The Puppetmaster" and "The Flowers of Shanghai", his reputation as a great filmmaker eludes me. Yoko is needlessly enigmatic. Tell us something. Expand
  3. MSantell
    Jan 6, 2006
    0
    The critics could not be more wrong or misleading on this film. I love foreign films but this film has no "reason d'etre." There is no The critics could not be more wrong or misleading on this film. I love foreign films but this film has no "reason d'etre." There is no storyline, no action, little dialogue and no drama of any type. I've read that this was meant as a tribute from one Japanese filmmaker to another. That's fine but mislead the rest of us that this is some type of profound film and that we are at fault if we don't recognize it. Expand