Café Lumiere
Want to See
Not Interested
Rate it ½ star
Rate it 1 star
Rate it 1½ stars
Rate it 2 stars
Rate it 2½ stars
Rate it 3 stars
Rate it 3½ stars
Rate it 4 stars
Rate it 4½ stars
Rate it 5 stars
'Cafe Lumier' conjures a present-day Japan in which family life is a mere shell and romantic passion has given way to hooking up. Left to their own devices, the young can follow only their own private paths, like the trains -- a recurring motif. The film captures the pathos of contemporary urban solitude.
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,
"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,
More reviews for Café Lumiere on Rotten Tomatoes