A young boy follows Tashiro home to his tenement housing complex on the outskirts of Tokyo, the boy who was separated from his carpenter father somehow and somewhere in Kudan. All Tashiro ... See full summary »
This Ozu film starts with a big, fat tracking shot, seemingly across half of Tokyo before it eventually settles on the lives of two college buddies: Ichirô Yûki and Tatsuo Saitô. Like most college movies of the era, the academic life is something to be dreaded and handwaved away and after they get through finals, it's off to the ski resort, where the real plot of the story begins, the competition over pretty Junko Matsui that has been simmering since the first scene.
When looking at the early works of a great artist, you try to find the roots of his future greatness, but there's little of that here. The Ozu that is revered is still and contemplative and Japanese. This one has a moving camera and pratfalls, an American movie poster on the wall (in this one it's SEVENTH HEAVEN) and product placement for Sun Maid raisins and Libby's canned vegetables. Chishu Ryu is present in a small role as a fearsome professor, the core of Ozu's troupe, but the film is very international in its tenor, as if he is waiting for William Fox to swing through Japan in case the recently hired Leo McCarey doesn't work out. Ozu was 26 when he made this, and still at the stage of his career when he probably didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up. A buddy comedy about two college boys? Let him at it!
It's obvious in its outline, has good acting and some nice situations. More than that no one can ask.
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