Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu
Countries & Regions: Japan
Studio: British Film Institute
Length: 264 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 18 March 2013
Cat No: BFIVD951
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Yasujiro Ozu: The Gangster Films
Collection of three silents films directed by Yasujirô Ozu. In ’Walk Cheerfully’ (1930) a thief attempts to reform for the sake of the... Read More
Night-time manhunts through deserted streets, confrontations in seedy hotel rooms, girls with guns and men in Fedoras – surely this isn't the same director who gave us the quiet family drama of Tokyo Story? But in his early career, Ozu was in thrall to American films, often aping their style as well as pinching their storylines.
So it is that these three silent films - Walk Cheerfully (1930), That Night's Wife (1930) and Dragnet Girl (1933) - seem like a whirl of fast-moving tracking shots, noir lighting and crash-zoom reveals. Even when the hero is about to give himself up to the police, he wears his hat at a rakish angle, the epitome of movie poster cool.
The real gem here is That Night's Wife, where this youthful zest collides headlong with the more mature Ozu. A father is reduced to stealing to pay for his sick daughter's medical bills. But he's tracked back home by a detective and his wife is forced to take desperate measures. The performances are extraordinarily subtle and there's a communication of character through close-ups of hands that would put Bresson to shame. A minor masterpiece waiting to be discovered.