Yasujiro Ozu: The Gangster... View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu

Produced: 1933

Countries & Regions: Japan

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Studio: British Film Institute

Length: 264 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 18 March 2013

Cat No: BFIVD951

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu

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Yasujiro Ozu: The Gangster Films

Cast: Chishu Ryu , Kinuyo Tanaka , Tatsuo Saito , Tokihiko Okada , Takeshi Sakamoto , Hiroko Kawasaki , Minoru Takada , Emiko Yagumo , Togo Yamamoto , Mitsuko Ichimura , Joji Oka , Sumiko Mizukubo

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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

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Collection of three silents films directed by Yasujirô Ozu. In ’Walk Cheerfully’ (1930) a thief attempts to reform for the sake of the woman he loves. In ’That Night’s Wife’ (1930) a father becomes a criminal in order to afford his sick daughter’s medical treatment. In ’Dragnet Girl’ (1933) a typist re-evaluates her life when her gangster boyfriend becomes acquainted with another woman.

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.

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