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There Was a Father (1942)
"Chichi ariki" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  November 1982 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,357 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 22 critic

Shuhei Horikawa, a poor schoolteacher, struggles to raise his son Ryohei by himself, despite neither money nor prospects.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Shûji Sano ...
Shin Saburi ...
Yasutaro Kurokawa
Takeshi Sakamoto ...
Makoto Hirata
Mitsuko Mito ...
Fumiko Hirata
Masayoshi Ôtsuka ...
Seiichi Hirata
Shin'ichi Himori ...
Minoru Uchida
Haruhiko Tsuda ...
Ryohei as a child
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shôtarô Fujimatsu
Chiyoko Fumiya
Masao Hayama
Kanji Kawahara ...
Teacher of junior high school
Teruo Kisaragi
Shôichi Kotôda
Masami Kubota
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Storyline

A father and his son, a son and his father. Horikawa is a widower, a teacher, and a good father to Ryohei, who's about 10. After a tragedy, Horikawa resigns from teaching and takes Ryohei from Tokyo to the town of Ueno, enrolling him in junior high; to the lad's sorrow, he will be a boarder. Horikawa returns to work in Tokyo, their separation is complete. Jump ahead more than ten years: with dad's help, Ryohei has finished college and has a teaching job in Akita. Horikawa considers living with his son, which Ryohei wants, but the elder's notions of duty and hard work preclude it. Ryohei arranges a ten-day vacation with his father. Heartbreak comes quietly, nearly hidden by dignity. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

November 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

There Was a Father  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in The Life and Works of Yasujiro Ozu (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

subversive sadness cracks through wartime propaganda
13 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Another sober wartime drama, this time a sort of reworking of THE ONLY SON as a widower schoolteacher decides to send his boy to a boarding school to give him the best education possible and seek a higher paying position to afford tuition. The film takes a sudden leap forward in time as the grown son desires to take care of his aging father, but the father forbids the son to compromise his own career. The war is barely mentioned but the film can easily be read as a propagandistic statement about self-sacrifice and devotion to duty, even at the cost of family unity. However, the pensive, tentative mood Ozu captures at the end, embodied in the son's distant, troubled look as he thinks about his father, hints at Ozu's own reservations with the moral message being issued. The scenes of father and son together in both halves of the story have a gentle perfection that gives the film all the beauty it requires, thanks to great performances by Shuji Sano as the grown son and Chishyu Ryo as the father. Amazingly, Ryu was only 38 when he gave this totally believable performance as an aging patriarch -- in fact he barely looks any different than he does in AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON twenty years later!


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