Good Morning (The Criterion Collection)
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By the time he made Good Morning in 1959, Yasujiro Ozu had completely eliminated camera movement from his uniquely simple but elegant directorial style. He chose instead to emphasize static but meticulously purposeful compositions that rarely, if ever, wavered from their recognizable low-angle perspective. In Good Morning, this observational approach is put to sublime use to establish setting (a late-'50s Tokyo suburb) and to view the world through the eyes of the film's central characters-two young brothers who take a mutual vow of silence to protest their parents' refusal to buy a TV set. Their father claims that television will create "a million idiots," while their mother is angered by the boys' neglect of schoolwork in favor of watching sumo wrestling on a neighbor's TV.
In Ozu's hands, this sublimely simple conflict inspires a comedic exploration of Japan at the dawn of its electronic age, when consumerism and materialism are in vogue, salesmen solicit their wares in constant door-to-door visits, and even the purchase of a washing machine can prompt neighbors into a frenzy of gossipy speculation. Funniest of all are the conspiratorial brothers, who play an amusing variation of "pull my finger" (proving that even great directors can indulge a fart joke if they choose), and employ their silent strategy with the stubbornness that only children can get away with. Through it all, Ozu develops a handful of intermingling themes of love, communication, goodwill, and the changing of societal traditions. Utterly simple on the surface, Good Morning reveals its complexity in careful proportion, with the affectionate humanity that was Ozu's greatest gift. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
Minoru Hayashi(about 12) and his little brother Isamu (about 6) live together with their parents in a little house. Impossible to keep one's privacy in this settlement. Nothing remains unobserved, everybody knows who went where and who bought what. The gossip blossoms and the phantasy of the housewives is lively. The biggest telltale is irritable and touchy Mrs. Haragushi: What has become of the dues for the women's club? Does Mrs. Hayashi suspect her of having bought her new washing-machine with the (embezzled) fees? When Mrs. Haragushi's mother reveals that she simply forgot about the receipt, her daughter takes it out on this poor old woman. She shoud go to a home for the aged, because "old people belong there". How unfair, since she needs her mother's pension...There is also Mr. Tomizawa. He worked for 30 years in wind and rain and now his pension is barely enough not to starve. He is desperate and drinks...There is also the "scandalous" family: the Maroyamas. They are slovenly and SHE has even been seen in a bar...But their household is the most popular with kids, because they have a television set. No matter how often their parents admonish them to make their homework, the boys always sneak away...
Minoru and Isamu find their life so tedious that they howl. Their father thinks that tv turns people into imbeciles; His sons think that he is just stingy and mean. When he orders them to shut up Minoru protests: What HE has to say is just as important as all those "empty phrases" adults use: good morning, how are you, etc...Read more ›
The main focus is on a misunderstanding involving misplaced Union dues and the mean-spirited gossip resulting from an honest mistake. A side-plot has two little boys enter a pact of silence in protest that their parents are "too cheap" to buy a TV set, so they need not watch Wrestling and Baseball at their neighbors house. Will their "strike" pay off?
This is a simple film about simple situations in working people's homes. Given the times, the daily struggle for survival and a few modern comforts are the center of each day's discussions. To think about one's retirement is discussed among people in their prime. The much used greetings (thus the title) and constant small talk are explained as a necessary means to achieve greater things. To sell a product, or to initiate friendliness with a prospective marriage partner.
A visibly low budget, absolutely no cinematic frills and a minimal number of actors, none-the-less give the viewer a pleasant excoursion into the life of hard working people in a given place and time. The film makes you smile, laugh out loud, and it also includes moments that may tuck at your heart strings. No classic or epic, yet a very pleasant little film to bring you joy.****
This film is probably the first Japanese comedy that was released in the US. It is also filmed in color which was rare for Japanese films at the time.
It is a remake of an earlier film by the same director Yasujiro Ozu titled "I was born but..." (Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo) The Japanese title for this film is "Ohayo".
This film is about two brothers in suburban Japan who want their parents to buy them a TV set. When their father refuses and complains that they talk too much, the brothers give everybody the silent treatment. Their "vow of silence" causes many troubles at home and at school.
The film also has some humor that would never have been shown on American TV at the time but is now even found in kid's films. The two brothers repeatedly ingest ground pumice stone because it gives them gas. The flatulence humor in this film (the sound effects are definately fake though) may have been responsible for the film to not be shown in the US until the early 60's.
It still is a great film made just as Japanese society was "westernizing" and could even be said that it was an answer to the American sitcoms of the time such as "Leave it to Beaver", "Father Knows Best" or "Dennis the Menace" (minus the intestinal gas expulsions of course!)
The DVD has no special features.
Most recent customer reviews
There is nothing 'minor' or 'little' about this movie; it is thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying. Very good print quality. Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2004 by C. Rubin
This quiet little film, set in working class Japan ca. 1960, focuses on the community's children and the way they are drawn to western entertainment, i.e. Read morePublished on Aug. 18 2003 by Michael Mathena
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