An enchanting update of Ozu's own silent I Was Born, But..., dedicated to the proposition that small talk, however tedious and repetitious, is a necessary lubricant for the wheels of social intercourse. The setting is a residential suburb of Tokyo, in the process of transition to Western consumerism, where two small boys send the entire world to Coventry because their parents, fearing TV will breed idiocy (killing the conversation that the boys cruelly dismiss as small talk), refuse to have a set in the house. Radiating out from the resulting tensions and resentments in the community comes an extraordinary cross-section of tragi-comic incident. An old man gets drunk because he cannot get a job; a middle-aged man is brought face to face with his approaching retirement; a young couple are inspired to declare their love entirely in terms of the weather; an unwanted grandmother broods about filial ingratitude; a kindly woman is forced to move by neighbourly doubts as to her morals. A brimming sense of life, in other words, gradually transforms the small talk into a richly devious portrait of humanity being human.