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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Good Morning (1959) d. Yasujirō Ozu

Yasujirō Ozu, prolific Japanese film maker and master of Japanese "comedy."

Movie Review
Good Morning (1959)
d. Yasujirō Ozu
Criterion Collection #84

   Before I started seriously watching the Criterion Collection I was good for two Japanese auteurs: Akira Kurosawa and this guy, Yasujirō Ozu, testament to the simpatico tastes of me and my ex, we both enjoyed watching Ozu movies on Netflix.  I'm not 100% solid on the basis for my opinion, but I'm relatively certain that Ozu is who you would call "Japan's Greatest Comic Filmmaker."   I'm not sure that there are any others, but Ozu is known for his prolific run of quiet domestic dramedy's which are, to my mind, the Japanese equivalent of Anthony Trollope's main stretch of novels in the 1870s.   Ozu is funnier then Trollope, but I couldn't watch Good Morning without thinking about the form of the Victorian multi-plot novel.

  Here, the story concerns four families living in 50s suburban Tokyo.  Each family is decidely nuclear in composition: Working husband, stay at home wife and one or two kids, plus one family has a grandma.  One  of the four families has a television, and the children of one of the other families wants a television, so the children decide to remain silent until the television is purchased.

  Criterion Collection itself describes Good Morning as "hilarious" and it almost sent me to to see if there was some other meaning of hilarious besides "really funny" because that is one thing this movie is not.  It certainly possesses a wry sense of humor, and there are a few jokes but there is also domestic tension, unemployment and a kid who craps himself A LOT.

  You can't be serious about the Criterion Collection and ignore Yazujiro Ozu and his quiet Japanese domestic comedies.


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