For Reel

I Was Born, But… (1932)
June 29, 2016, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Yasujirō Ozu
5 Stars
I Was Born, But...One of the key moments in the maturation process is coming to understand that your parents are imperfect and don’t have all the answers. Yasujirō Ozu’s I Was Born, But… remarks on the devastating realization—towards the end of the film, two young boys (Tomio Aoki and Hideo Sugawara) who have spent the duration of the picture attempting to stand up to bullies witness a home movie wherein their father (Tatsuo Saito) makes a fool of himself by making slapstick faces to please his boss. To the boys, it’s a shameful moment of pure subservience, the equivalent of the game a boys play wherein they force their inferiors to lay on the ground until given permission to stand. If the boys have not yet understood that sometimes compromises need to be made, the parents are in denial that the day will ever come—how does one explain the precarious balance of what it means to assert oneself and what it means to make it in a social environment? That Ozu incorporates the whole of this drama of generational divides within a film that is often a comedy reminiscent of the Hal Roach “Our Gang” series is the genius of I Was Born, But…, ultimately re-contextualizing Ozu as not just a master dramatist, but a master storyteller regardless of genre.

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