Although the music-only soundtrack would seem to hint at Ozu’s reluctance to embrace the technical advances of the era, this touching tale of depression-era travails is shot just like a sound picture with intertitles. That’s to say the performances are entirely naturalistic, as Sakamoto’s unemployed dad wanders in search of a job to feed his two sons, who’re reduced to catching stray dogs so they can sell them to the municipal pound, thus giving the family the choice of a meal or a bed for the night. Ozu does allow hope to fringe the horizon, but even when the central trio are miming their enjoyment of invisible rice and saké, it never lapses into sentimentality, and the framing of the characters against telegraph poles and industrial chimneys melting into the middle-distance shows some of the director’s visual signatures already in place at this relatively early stage. The De Sica-ish storyline makes this one an anomaly in the filmography, but it’s still beautifully achieved.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Masao Arata, Tadao Ikeda|