Silent Ozu: Three Family Comedies - Eclipse From The Criterion Collection
In the late twenties and early thirties, Yasujiro Ozu was working steadily for Shochiku studios, honing his craft on dozens of silent films in various genres, from romantic melodramas to college comedies to gangster pictures - and, of course, movies about families. In these three droll domestic films - Tokyo Chorus, I Was Born, But..., and Passing Fancy, presented here with all-new scores by renowned silent-film composer Donald Sosin - Ozu movingly and humorously depicts middle-class struggles and the resentments between children and parents, establishing the emotional and aesthetic delicacy with which he would transform the landscape of cinema.
His son wants a bicycle, his daughter a balloon, his wife financial stability - good-hearted insurance salesman Okajima just needs his annual bonus to fulfill his family's needs. Ozu exhibited a newfound cinematic confidence in this touching, comic look at a struggling family.
I Was Born, But...
Embarrassed by their harried father's kowtowing to his boss, two prepubescent scamps retaliate at home, even going on a hunger strike. Ozu's first major popular success is a delightful, poignant depiction of the hard business of being a kid, not to mention the outsize demands of parenthood.
In this sophisticated, restrained pocket portrait, Ozu introduces Kihachi, a day-laboring single father who lives contentedly in a Tokyo tenement with his obstinate, wiseacre young son, Tomio. Complications ensue, however, when Dad finds himself part of a tenuous love triangle.