The first of many films featuring the endearing single-dad Kihachi (played wonderfully by Takeshi Sakamoto), Passing Fancy is a humorous and heartfelt study of a close, if fraught, father-son relationship. With an ever more sophisticated visual style and understanding of fragile human relationships, Ozu seamlessly weaves rib-tickling comedy and weighty family drama for this distinguished precursor to a brilliant career. —The Criterion Collection
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
This is possibly my least favorite of the 13 Ozu films I've seen, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. Passing Fancy sensitively explores unconventional father-son relationships, the difficulties of aging and, most importantly, the harsh realities of class struggles. Ozu's keen eye for human behavior is revealed in deceptively simple moments of brutal honesty: "I'm a useless as a dad, but please don't hate me."
A very straight forward narrative with endearing and kinda hopeless characters... and oh yeah, it's a silent film that doesn't feel like silent film at all. The acting is so far ahead of its time, very naturalistic. Ozu really sees through to the truth, without judging it too harshly. This film is both hilarious and sad, but not in an too-weighty kind of way. I loved it.