This breezy student comedy about the misadventures of two slacker collegians (Ichiro Yuki and Tatsuo Saito, who does a great riff on Harold Lloyd) is Ozu's earliest existing film. The narrative is as incidental as ever but eventually locks into an extended sequence capturing the foibles of a romantic triangle that develops during an extended skiing sequence -- which in itself is a wonder as it's probably the longest exterior sequence Ozu ever filmed. Ozu's filmmaking is more "mainstream" than what he's known for, utilizing dissolves, handheld camerawork and clever point of view shots to capture the thrills and spills of the ski slopes. Ozu's characteristically lovely moments of human intimacy are in evidence, but they have yet to be as sharply composed, pared down to the graphic simplicity that is his hallmark. It seems evident that a younger, more carefree Ozu directed this -- it's relatively slight but extremely affable depiction of youth -- one wonders what wonders Ozu would have done with AMERICAN PIE.
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