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!
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.