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Japan 1959
Directed by
Yasujiro Ozu
94 minutes
Rated G

3.5 stars


Yasujirô Ozu’s iconic film, a re-working of his own 1931 film I Was Born But… has been with justice, compared to the films of Jacques Tati. There has long been a relationship of mutual aesthetic admiration between Japan and France but if one compares Ohayô with Tati’s Mon Oncle, which was released the same year, what strikes one is not so much a matter of cross-fertilization as the Zeitgeist at work on both form and content. Both films share an affectionately light-hearted take on the foibles of the daily life of ordinary suburban folk and, perhaps even more emphatically, an identification with childhood innocence over adult cynicism (one also thinks of Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon which was released two years earlier). Both films also share a beguiling visual stylization, with Ozu making impressive use of his characteristic hieratic framing and the simple geometry of his sets, much as Tati played with the geometricized functionalism of his ideal Modernist home.

Telling the story of a couple of young boys who take a vow of silence after they are berated by their irritated father who they have been pestering for a television set, Ohayo is somewhat sentimental but is probably the most accessible of the director's films for a Western audience.

DVD Extras:  Commentary by actor and film buff, John Flaus and Adrian Martin, Senior Research Fellow, Film & Television Studies, Monash University.

Available from: Madman




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