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Silent Ozu: Three Family Comedies: Eclipse Series 10 (The Criterion Collection)

Tatsuo Saitô , Tomio Aoki , Yasujirô Ozu    Unrated   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Japanese Film??? I'm kidding, right? June 23 2001
Format:VHS Tape
No Kidding, if you have any sense of humour you'll love this film. Now I am an admitted Ozu film lover, which means I find his unique cinematography of a camera that isn't darting all over the place and shots at low levels that make you feel like you are standing (or sitting) there watching what is going on, a very enjoyable way of viewing a film.
I also love his simple stories that everyone can relate to, his people are just like our friends, neighbors and families, some of them are sweet, some are stinkers, and many are just doing their best to cope with every day's challenges in life.
But a silent Ozu? I was a little wary, but I did put it on my wishlist, and I'm so glad I did and that one of my sweet relations gave it to me for my birthday, because it is one of Ozu's best! Ozu's films are always full of gentle and sometimes silly fun and this one did not disappoint. The two brothers are real characters and along with the kids they meet up with in their new neighborhood, it really was like watching a Japanese version of the Little Rascals. Did you know eating raw sparrow's eggs will make you strong?
It soon appears that they get their sense of humour from their father, though as usually happens, they are not as appreciative of it in him. And as with all Ozu films, we are left with the feeling that we are all pretty much the same no matter where we come from or even when we lived and we find a good deal of comfort in knowing that as the world changes we can still appreciate the things that never do. You'll hate yourself if you don't see it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Ozu's best films July 1 2000
Format:VHS Tape
It is a shame that the availability of Ozu films is not more widespread. 'I Was Born But...' exemplifies the concern for family relationships by one of the great masters of Japanese cinema. This film being silent should not be seen as an obstacle (nor should any silent film). It echoes the charming pathos and humour one might expect from a Charlie Chaplin classic.
The film tells the story of a family who relocate to suburban Tokyo. The two sons conflict with the local bullies - one of which is their father's boss's son. The boys deal with the local bullies only to 'lose face' over their father acting like a clown. What arises from this becomes a motif for Ozu - the estranged relationship between children and parents. For Ozu this is part of everyday life and is somewhat auto-biographical in thought as his own relationship with his father was also estranged. Further exemplified, is Ozu's motif of spatial violation and parallel action.
Ozu is the anti-thesis of the Hollywood blockbuster and he possesses a narrow choice of camera positions. Nowhere is the expression "less is more" more appropriate than here. While there is a rare use of a tracking shot, Ozu tends to prefer the static camera and usually shoots from the tatami mat. This sense of mimimalism seems entirely appropriate given that the film spends much time observing the boys everyday encounters.
This great filmmaker has a knack for expressing the tender beauty of everyday life and minimal expression. However, the sense of observation one feels is always pervaded with subtle touches of humour and emotional resonance - that it is impossible to become bored with it. I bless my lucky stars for the offerings that Ozu brought to the world of filmmaking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Ozu Masterpiece March 21 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The release of "I was Born But" last year on video is such good news for all the Ozu fans, because this is his silent classic, as "Tokyo Story" is his "Family Cycle" classic. The film is also a warm, gentle, and humorous exploration of the innocence of childhood and the double-standards of adults. The film is silent, but no sound is needed, since the visual impact is so stunning! Do not let the steep price stop you from getting a copy. The price will never come down, and you know what, it may well be soon out of print. So grab your copy of this little seen gem fast, and you will find yourselves enveloped in this touching and funny exploration of the pains of growing up, certainly one of the best silent movies ever! Ozu reworked this film in "Good Morning", but was not as successful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ozu's Early Silent Masterpiece Dec 3 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Ozu, Yasujiro: Japan's greatest director creates a funny, touching silent film about humor and pain between parents and their children as they all struggle to grow up.
Do not be put off by the lack of sound. This is a classic about childhood seen from a child's eye-view. A rarity, apparently newly available.
No other director in the world focused on the day-to-day goings on in an average family. Even his sound films seem to be almost silent in their straight-forward appreciation of the subtle changes that family members go through while going forward through time.
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