Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

I Was Born, But...

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on March 11, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I WAS BORN, BUT...   ***1/2

Yasujiro Ozu


IDEA:  Having recently moved to a new suburb in Tokyo, two young brothers must contend with a menacing gang of bullies as well as struggle to understand matters of social order and honor within their family.

BLURB:  An exemplary display of Ozu’s deft comic timing, as well as his characteristic grace and humanity. Despite being a fairly early entry in the director’s oeuvre, this silent film feels stunningly modern. This may be partially owed to its slick editing and loose, gliding camera, but nothing impresses more than the affectionately drawn child protagonists, acted so precisely and intuitively by Hideo Sugawara and Tomio Aoki. The ways in which Ozu captures the little moments between them, their father, or their school peers is an object lesson in behavioral observation, whether it’s in the humor of one boy always forgetting to zip his fly or how, by inherited synchronicity, the brothers fondly repeat each other’s actions. Weaving in pointed social commentary and always keeping the focus on the boys’ changing, bittersweet attitudes towards family and society, I Was Born, But… is a sterling, unassuming gem.

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