Good Morning / I Was Born, But... DVD+Blu-ray
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Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Produced in 1959
Main Language - Japanese with English subtitles
Two boisterous tales of young kids in revolt told from different perspectives; Mike Bartlett has fun with these light-hearted classics by Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu released by the BFI.
Those who are intimidated by Ozu's reputation as an austere formalist should check out this wonderful double bill made up of his two best comedies. Boisterous tales of young kids rebelling against their parents, they come with fart jokes, slapstick, gossipy neighbours straight out of a Les Dawson skit, and the best – and funniest – child actors in movie history.
1933's I Was Born But... tells how two young boys cope with moving to a new neighbourhood where they have to take on the local bullies, only to lose faith in their father who kowtows shamelessly to his boss. It's a film as sprightly and mischievous as its young protagonists, as anarchic in its use of travelling shots, visual gags and every damn trick in the cinematic book as the boys are in their acts of rebellion against authority.
In his later years, Ozu had a habit of revisiting material he'd previously used as a young man. So it is that 1959's Good Morning – Ozu's 50th film – is a more sober and contemplative reworking of the same story, this time more in tune with the resigned fatalism of the boys' father, played by the ever reliable Chishu Ryu. The story is broadened out to take in the whole of suburban Japanese society and acts as a wry comment on the country's decline into consumerism (the boys rebel this time because they're desperate for a telly!) But it's just as amusing, just as witty and wise in its commentary on human failings, and just as unpredictable – at one point, it becomes a whodunit. Mention should also be made of the gorgeous colour photography which seems to relish the garish if cosy domestic interiors of the '50s.
Though light-hearted, both films cut to the core of Ozu's philosophy, providing unsentimental but moving portraits of the different generations, where each person's concern – whether it be how to steal some rice cakes or cope with impending retirement – is treated with equal weight and dignity. Tokyo Story they're not – but they're equally sublime.
Michael Bartlett on 1st December 2010
Author of 26 reviews
A pairing of films from Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu -Good Morning (1959) and I Was Born, But... (1932).
A bright Tokyo suburb, buzzing with gossip and intrigue, is the backdrop to world renowned Japanese director's Yasujiro Ozu's outstanding comedy, Good Morning. Disillusioned with the seemingly meaningless chatter of the adult world, two brothers take a vow of silence when their parents refuse to buy them a television set. With its dextrous plot built on mishaps and misunderstandings, Good Morning pokes fun at the silliness of everyday adult communication whilst gently acknowledging its fundamental necessity.
Also contains Ozu's superb early comedy, I Was Born, But...
Length: 180 mins
Cat No: BFIB1070
Format: DVD+Blu-ray Colour
- 2 discs
- Standard Definition and High Definition presentations of Good Morning
- Standard Definition presentation of I Was Born, But… (DVD only)
- Newly recorded score for I Was Born, But… by composer Ed Hughes and the New Music Players
- Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned sleevenote essay by silent film curator Bryony Dixon and contemporary review by Jonathan Rosenbaum
- New and improved English subtitles.