Thursday, June 30, 2011

Passing Fancy

1933, Japan, directed by Yasujiro Ozu

From the wonderful opening scene, tracing the journey of a wallet through a crowd of ethically challenged patrons, Ozu's 1933 comedy creates a vivid sense of urban life in the midst of the depression, with little details like the few coins in a wallet or the tattered paper of a screen door telling reminders of the realities of the period, as was also the case in his earlier Tokyo Chorus.

Such details don't for a moment obscure the essential lightness of the characterizations, however: the film features the first appearance of Kihachi, the loving if barely competent father who appears in a string of subsequent Ozu films, as well as another in the series of lively urchins played by Tomio Aoki. What's perhaps most remarkable, though, is the subtlety with which Ozu transitions from knockabout comedy - a rambunctious child hitting his hungover father on the shins to wake him up, for instance - to a revelatory passage wherein the bonds of family are movingly revealed, without any abruptness and while remaining true to the flawed, engaging characters.

No comments:


List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States