Tokiko leads a double-life as an office typist and the mistress of a retired champion boxer and small-time ringleader named Jyoji. Hiroshi, a new recruit to the gang, hero worships Jyoji and neglects his studies. Hiroshi’s sister Kazuko begs Jyoji to spare her brother from their shady dealings, but inadvertently casts a spell on Jyoji. After several reversals, Jyoji returns to Tokiko’s arms. They decide to come clean, but not before pulling one last job to help Hiroshi and Kazuko. —Ozu-san.com
Yasujiro Ozu was born in the old Fukagawa district of Tokyo, to a fertilizer merchant, in 1903. In 1923, after a couple of years as an assistant teacher in rural Japan, Ozu was hired as assistant cameraman at the Shochiku Motion Picture Company. Early in his career, Ozu began to experiment with an idiosyncratic film style that ran contrary to the conventions of Japanese or Hollywood cinema of the day. He strove to reduce and simplify his film style; he cast such mainstays as the fade, the dissolve, and the pan from his cinematic palette. He shot solely from a low camera angle, using a 50mm lens, and he subordinated spatial continuity to visual aesthetics. Ozu directed his first film in 1927,The Sword of Penitence. In 1932, he began to hit his creative stride with the touching comedy I Was Born, But…, which was his first commercial success. During World War II, he made few films such as There Was a Father.
After the war, Ozu reached his creative peak and made some of his finest… read more
Infused with Ozu's trademark visual flair and ellipses, even though the subject matter is unfamiliar and the camera moves in a manner alien to his famous latter films. All these years later it still feels fresh and cool, playful and light, refusing every melodramatic impulse. It just seems that greatness runs through everything that he did.
Every time I think I'm about to see a stereotypical Ozu static shot on the inanimate, he moves the camera, and integrates these shots directly into the scene (as opposed to the juxtapositions he later used), that is, until the end. There, however, he gets especially symbolic and brings out the sun during such a shot. Overall, a neat and quick crime picture which, though preachy in its way, eschews simple bad guys.
The last of three surviving silent Ozu films with a yakuza theme (the other two being Walk Cheerfully and That Night's Wife), this melodrama stars a young Kinuyo Tanaka as a gangster's moll with a heart of gold. Ozu's love of Hollywood shines through and this is probably his most westernized film, featuring numerous tracking shots and impressionistic lighting quite obviously influenced by the work of Von Sternberg...