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Cafe Lumiere Review

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Yoko is a young writer, pregnant by her boyfriend and being urged towards marriage by her parents. However, she remains unsure, and befriends Hajime, a train buff and bookstore owner.

★★★★

Not since Brian De Palma paid homage to Hitchcock has a filmmaker so perfectly captured the essence of his idol. Made to mark the centenary of the peerless Japanese auteur Yasujiro Ozu, Hou Hsiao-Hsien's delicate drama references many of his recurring themes - the breakdown of communication between parents and children, the rhythmic patterning of everyday life.

Hou even adopts Ozu's predilection for long, low-level, virtually static takes, and his fascination with urban-industrial architecture. But whereas Ozu exhibited a subtle compassion, Hou seems more content to observe, as the friends and family around writer Yo Hitoto come to terms with the news she is pregnant by the Taiwanese lover she has no intention of marrying. Pure poetry.

Not since Brian De Palma paid homage to Hitchcock has a filmmaker so perfectly captured the essence of his idol. Pure poetry.

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