Yoko, a freelance writer/researcher, lives in Tokyo alone. When she discovers that she pregnant, she is determined to raise the baby alone, even if this is a major social taboo in her culture. Hsiao-hsien Hou's Cafe Lumiere is a meditative tribute to Yasujiro Ozu, where a strong-willed woman is determined to raise her unborn son by herself, finding little sympathy from her family who doesn't exactly support her decision. The cinematography has the Ozu trademark static shots, with framing that can only be described as a cinematic window of everyday life. Much like Ozu, Hou's ability to evoke poetry from the ordinary everyday life is both refreshing and fascinating. Trains are a major focus of the poetry in this film as we see countless trains, coming and going with little explanation or understanding of where. They serve a purpose, showing the fast-paced nature of modern Japanese life, while also being symbolic of what Yoko is going through herself in her decision to go against tradition. In the end, I found this film to be a rather minor work of Hou's largerly do to the fact that I never found myself emotionally invested in the material. Although I did find Hajime's character, a bookstore owner who befriends Yoko, to be moderately affecting. He clearly likes Yoko a great deal, yet cannot find the way to express how he feels.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.