08/17/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

DVD Review: THE ONLY SON / THERE WAS A FATHER
(The Criterion Collection)



Studio: The Criterion Collection
Year: 1936-42
Cast: Chishu Ryu, Shinichi Himori
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Rating: Not Rated for
Run Time: 02h:49m:55s
Genre(s): japanese

"I never thought I'd have to do this in Tokyo. But things turn out the way they will." - Ryosuke (Shinichi Himori), in The Only Son

THE ONLY SON / THERE WAS A FATHER

Buy Now @ Amazon

 
 

Two early works from one of the masters, Yasujiro Ozu.

Movie Grade: A-

DVD Grade: B

Yasujiro Ozu may be the Edmund Burke of filmmakers. That is, he's classically conservative—not in a Sarah Palin kind of way, but in a Reflections on the Revolution in France kind of way: things are bad and getting worse, all human endeavor is an exercise in futility, things might have been better once, but they're no good any more. (Hey, wait, maybe he's really a Japanese Joni Mitchell—you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, and all that.) It's a dreary and dispiriting world view, undercut, happily, to some extent, by the fluidity and grace of Ozu's filmmaking. You can claim too much for Ozu—some do in this very box set, for instance (more on that in a minute)—but these two early films, not especially well known in the West particularly, are lovely, lyrical expressions of his essential ennui.

The Only Son, made in 1936, could almost be a Joan Crawford weepie on the other side of the Pacific—it's about a mother's relentless sacrifice for her boy, and about how little they both end up to show for it. Otsune cares nothing for herself, and labors only for her son, Ryosuke, for whom she has big plans. It's a movie essentially about the boy not being able to carry the mantle of his mother's aspirations. She wants him to go to all the best schools, to move to Tokyo, to take his place in the leadership, to bring pride to the family name. She has to settle for a remote young man full of secrets and shame—a promising student, Ryosuke gets waylaid by life, in a way.

Mother makes a surprise visit to her son in Tokyo, and everybody has big and embarrassing secrets. Ryosuke's onetime mentor, a middle school teacher who fanned the flames of his young intellect, has been reduced to selling pork cutlets; we're in a world of sacrificing parents and thankless children. Ozu also takes a dim view of urban life—everybody wants to move to Tokyo, but nothing good happens once they get there, and there's a lot of pining for what's past, what's rural, what's pastoral. And nothing is more decadent than the West&@8212Ryosuke wants to show off and takes his mother to a talkie; she is horrified by what she sees.

As a filmmaker, Ozu is brave enough to be boring—he's so invested in the emotional lives of his characters that he doesn't feel it necessary to give us visual pyrotechnics. But that also means that sometimes his movies can be, well, boring. How else to characterize a scene, for instance, in which we see little more than three characters sitting and eating bowls of ramen noodles?

Act Three provides some small opportunities for redemption, but given the grandeur of the aspirations of our characters, these are very small indeed. We're not convinced, and you almost sense that Ozu doesn't expect us to be. And the second film in the double feature, There Was a Father, travels on much of the same territory. It's a more sprawling story, and takes place over decades of the lives of a widower and his son; the accompanying material suggests that the film was celebrated in its time (it was made in 1942) for bringing a sense of nobility to the sacrifices of wartime.

And yet, in a funny way, this is really a father/son love story. There are no Oedipal complications in Ozu; instead, we get a 25 year old man saying to his father, "I can't stand living apart like this." Love is pure in Ozu, but it's always eclipsed by loss; this is a movie about a father and son retreating from the city to ferret through the shards of their family's disgrace, and then attempting to recover some modicum of self-regard. As you might guess, they are at best modestly successful. So, you know, these are graceful motion pictures, but they ain't exactly feel good.

Ozu scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, in 2010 interviews, offer thoughts on both films—Bordwell insists that Ozu is the greatest director of all time, and though I disagree with him, it points out how silly it is to argue about those kind of superlatives. And Japanese film scholar Tadao Sato, on the first disc, provides some biographical background on the director. Each disc comes with an accompanying essay by Tony Rayns; and dean of Japanese film scholars Donald Richie has a profile of actor Chishu Ryu in the booklet accompanying There Was a Father. Also, though we're fortunate to have these on DVD, these are among the worst Criterion discs in terms of video quality that I have ever seen—it appears as if the source material is hopelessly compromised and unrecoverable, and really, there's something about that that I think the films' director would appreciate.

Posted by: Jon Danziger - September 8, 2010, 10:45 am - DVD Review
Keywords: ozu, japanese




Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store