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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ohayo (aka Good Morning) (1959)

Set in the outskirts of Tokyo, when their parents (Chishu Ryu, Kuniko Miyake) refuse to buy them a television, two boys (Shitara Koji, Masahiko Shimazu) refuse to talk or eat. A very loose remake of his own 1932 silent film I WAS BORN BUT..., director Yasujiro Ozu turns his eye to a more contemporary westernized Japan. His theme here is communication, both the lack of it and the dancing around it as well as how misunderstanding and gossip cause unnecessary problems. It's a winsome tidbit of a movie that benefits from an engaging cast and a twinkle in Ozu's eye. The obstinance and willfulness of the two children wouldn't have been tolerated in the pre-war Japan but the western contamination (i.e. TV) gives them a determination that surprises even their parents. Some of the humor doesn't hold up too well or maybe it's just me but fart jokes, even if provided by the great Ozu, grow monotonous very quickly. With Haruko Sugimura and Eijiro Tono.

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