I Was Born, But...

I Was Born, But... ★★★★½

Sixty in September: 29/30

I love how much of this is shot outside, in fields or back lots. I love the wild running of childhood. Give the sign, fall, give the sign, rise. Eating sparrow eggs for strength.

I wonder -- it's all a kind of jockeying for position. The bravura tracking cross cut, from students at their desk to salarymen yawning down the line. God, if it doesn't feel that way. An image that will linger in my own office warped mind. Not working, yawning. Always yawning. Yearning, too.

"Will they lead the same sorry lives we have?"

"You're a weakling." To cut right to the heart of adult fears. And 1932 might as well be now for all I can tell.

Gets to the doom of being born. School prepares you "to become somebody." But then crosscut to the yawning salarymen. As the boys rightfully feel, is that what we can expect?

There's an answer in wild rebellion. Maybe that's why Chichi is smiling when he's saying it, "Don't become miserable apple-polishers like me, boys."

What can be done, friends? Do you ever feel like sometimes the only answer to life is movies? I wonder, perhaps, if many directors feel that way. Why Ozu skipped school for the cinema. How I want to skip work for the cinema. And find myself a camera. Watch movies, make movies, consumed by the life in them.

Liner notes indicate that in the genre name, shomin-geki or shoshimineiga, for this (and many other Ozu films) -- shomin roughly means "people like you and me." So, I want to look on this film as a friend.

It seems to know how childish I am and to sympathize with me and to know about wanting to run away free. And it knows about yawning in the office. I hold that secretly like some great subversion. It brings me a great deal of joy.

Some films capture the weariness of adulthood and some capture the freewheeling freedoms or ebbing innocence of youth. But few, that I know, do both. It sees them all together, bound up, like this. Less stillness than spinning like that wheel in the first shot.

But, God, it wants to go somewhere. And so do I.

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