Café Lumiere
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A freelance writer living in Tokyo defies social taboo by choosing life as a single mother in director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's meditative tribute to acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu. When Yoko announces that she is pregnant and has no intentions of marrying the father of her child, her traditional family is outraged. Though the headstrong decision made by the young mother-to-be leaves her finding little sympathy from within her family circle, a blossoming friendship with the owner of a local second-hand bookstore goes a long way in alleviating Yoko's feelings of loneliness. As Yoko… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Both Hou and Ozu excel in evoking the poetry of everyday life, and, as a tribute from one great filmmaker to another, Cafe Lumiere should richly satisfy devotees of both artists."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Although pegged as an author of contemplative mood pieces, Hou's originality as a filmmaker has much to do with both his handling of historical material and his daringly counterintuitive narrative structures."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"You don't take this journey for the bends in the road, but the fleeting sights along the way make it memorably rewarding."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
"A tribute to Yasujiro Ozu that can be seen as one film great saluting another from a different culture and time period."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Hou's sensitivity plus Ozu's inspiration equals sublimity of sight and sound."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"The film often takes on the hypnotic rhythm of a dream."
‑ Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"A fascinating curiosity, a chance to witness one major filmmaker paying tribute to another in the form of a rigorously minor film."
‑ A.O. Scott, New York Times
"Rather than go the trivial route of aping Ozu's style and storytelling, [Hou] uses the techniques he's honed to create his own take on the state of Japan's ever increasing modernity."
‑ Jeffrey Chen, Window to the Movies
"Like all Hou films, viewers will want to ponder Cafe Lumiere and its many layers well after this year's Oscars have come and gone."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"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."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Hou fans will find what they're looking for; others will wonder when the action starts."
‑ Jay Weissberg, Variety
"Some 40 years after Ozu's death, the traditions that govern middle-class Japanese family life - the crux of his films - are even more frayed."
‑ Amy Taubin, Film Comment Magazine
"Framing the visual haphazardness of urban streets in exquisite, dense, Shiko-like scroll paintings, Hou demonstrates how even in a megalopolis life is lived on a human scale, one day, one person at a time."
‑ Les Wright, culturevulture.net
"The film looks for small connections and fragments of significance in the comings and goings of everyday life."
‑ Leo Goldsmith, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"The plot may be almost non-existent, but who cares when a film is both this serenely beautiful and quietly insightful."
‑ Tom Dawson, BBC
More reviews for Café Lumiere on Rotten Tomatoes