The Only Son ★★★½

A mother who has sacrificed everything to give her son a better future realizes that her efforts may have been in vain when she visits him in Tokyo and witnesses the modest life he leads, and his utterly defeated attitude towards life. Even so, after an unexpected incident, the mother realizes that not everything is lost because, despite the material deficiencies, her son is a good man. In Hitori musuko, Ozu shows through the relationship between mother and son a portrait of Japanese society; a society where there is great pressure placed on children to be successful, and in which gratitude and a sense of duty are very important. In addition, the director shows the incessant industrialization of Japan prior to the Second World War. In this regard, it is interesting to see the small details that link the Axis, such as a fragment of the film Leise flehen meine Lieder and the poster of Germany in Ryosuke's house. Thematically it is not as complex, nor stylistically as refined as Ozu's later works, but there are already discernible signs of what is to come. Nevertheless, this is a worthy first foray into sound films for the director thanks to its simplicity and that delicate scent of tenderness and melancholy that surrounds it.

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