Gentle as a running brook, Hsiao-Hsien's tribute to Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu turns the clattering landscape of Tokyo transit into a nature scene. Subways and trams speak as much in this film as the human characters. From squealing wheels to heavenly "doors will be closing" melodies, from catenary wires to stopwatches, Hsiao-Hsien's gentle lens equalises machinery and nature with the patience and subtlety of difficult human emotions in a reticent culture. The trains, wires and rails circle around Hajime, a quiet bookstore owner most likely in love with his friend Yoko. When not losing himself in books, Hajime abandons himself to the pleasures of riding and recording the natural world of Tokyo's trains, while Yoko loses herself in attempts at family, through both the unborn child she's accidentally conceived and her faltering tries at connecting with her father and stepmother. The film's hushed and slow tones will be too languorous for some, and like in the other works of the director, the film was inspired by the patient disappointments of life casting a greedily long net over all that's lovingly shot. Yet that same disappointment is somehow lovingly rendered — a magical product of Hsiao-Hsien's softness. (Shochiku/Asahi Shimbun/Sumitomo/Eisei Gekijo/Imagica)