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Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947)

Nagaya shinshiroku (original title)
In post-war Japan, a man brings a lost boy to his tenement. No one wants to take the child for even one night; finally, a sour widow, Tané, does. The next day, complaining, she takes the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chôko Iida ...
Hôhi Aoki ...
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Father
Mitsuko Yoshikawa ...
Kikuko
Reikichi Kawamura ...
Tamekichi
Hideko Mimura ...
Okiku
...
Tashiro
Takeshi Sakamoto ...
Kihachi Kawayoshi
Eiko Takamatsu ...
Tome
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Photographer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yûichi Kôno
Seiji Nishimura
Fujiyo Osafune
Yoshino Tani
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Storyline

In post-war Japan, a man brings a lost boy to his tenement. No one wants to take the child for even one night; finally, a sour widow, Tané, does. The next day, complaining, she takes the boy to his neighborhood and finds his father has gone to Tokyo; it seems the boy has been abandoned. Tané wants to leave him there, but he follows her home. The next morning he disappears fearing a scolding after wetting the bed. Tané realizes she likes having him there, searches for him, and keeps him when he's found that night. Within days, she considers him her son. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Plot Keywords:

boy | japan | post war | widow | tenement | See All (16) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

20 May 1947 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Historia de un vecindario  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Referenced in I Lived, But... (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fleas
2 February 2008 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Slightly different from the Ozu's I've seen before, but still a rather wonderful little film. Its his first film after the war. Only Ozu could film the desolate streetscape of a devastated Japan and make it seem so homely and normal. Every scene is magnificently composed - the first few shots, showing ramshackle homes framed by a wirescape of crooked electric cables sets the scene perfectly. Even the simplest domestic scenes are presented so beautifully they give a dignity to the ordinary people represented in the film.

The story is (as usual with Ozu) as simple as can be. A small flea-bitten boy, a stray, follows a man home, and a small group of neighbours argue amongst themselves what to do with him. He is left with a bad tempered widow. What happens is familiar - he slowly melts her heart. But how its done is not so familiar. The boy is never shown as particularly lovable - he's a quiet bedwetter 'pees like a horse' as the woman says. There is little or none of the saccharine you'd expect from other film makers, Japanese or otherwise. Its just shown very straight, with no sentimentality. Oh, and its a comedy - some lovely, very funny scenes. The acting is fantastic. One particular scene, where the neighbours accompany a singer with a rhythm tapped with chopsticks on places is brilliant, it alone is worth getting the DVD to see it.

The only let down is the ending, which becomes a little preachy. But its forgivable in the context, just 2 years after the end of the war, where Ozu perhaps felt he should give the audience a bit of a message (although as all scripts went through rigid censorship at the time we can't be certain it was all his idea). There is an obvious 'we should all be nicer to each other' message in the movie, and it doesn't shirk for a moment from the poverty at the time, despite the light hearted tone. Its hard to put yourself in the shoes of the contemporary audience, but they must have been heartened to see people so real to their own experience on the screen, with no false optimism or over-dramatic pessimism, just a very real slice of life.


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