The trials, tribulations, and joys of raising a child. The film follows the everyday events of a family with one boy, coming up to his second birthday, interspersed with occasional thoughts... See full summary »
The trials, tribulations, and joys of raising a child. The film follows the everyday events of a family with one boy, coming up to his second birthday, interspersed with occasional thoughts of the child. They initially live in an apartment building, and then move into the doting grandmother's house. Written by
A beautiful color film; turns cuteness into true poetry
It's hard to believe that this semi-precursor of the ultra-popular, silly "Look Who's Talking" films of Amy Heckerling was directed by the same man who made the cannibals-at-war classic "Fires On the Plain." The title of the film says it all. It's about the trials and tribulations of a young Japanese couple as they try to maintain an even-tempred good humor while raising a two year old son, first in an apartment and then in a traditional Japanese house. It's also a film about the way Taro, their doll-like two year old boy, sees things. The generation gap that was the subject of so many Japanese films of the '50s and '60s is also well represented when Taro's mom gets her mother-in-law involved in raising the child and she tries to assert her own ways of doing things in a somewhat slyly condescending way. Of course, all this would be nothing but facile cuteness if it wasn't for Ichikawa's superb visual sense and poetic way of telling the story. Every shot in the film is gorgeous in itself, but it's the understated sophistication and wry humor with which they're edited that makes the film special. A good way to know if a film has 'poetic' potential is to watch it twice to see if it's even better the second time around; most films aren't. The third time you watch "Being Two Isn't Easy" you'll realize that it's like a transcendent piece of music, it flows so right and so dreamlike that it seems to contain everything in the world within its simple storyline; it just keeps pulling you deeper into its beautifully realized cinematic economy. It may be a little too cute for some people, but for me Ichikawa's ode to babies and parents is basically as timeless and inexhaustible a visual poem, albeit on a much smaller scale, as his famous film of the Tokyo Olympiad.
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