Shuhei Horikawa, a poor schoolteacher, struggles to raise his son Ryohei by himself, despite neither money nor prospects.
Shuhei Horikawa, a poor schoolteacher, struggles to raise his son Ryohei by himself, despite neither money nor prospects.
Neither a rousing propaganda piece (while this officially designated kokumin eiga, or "people's film," was deemed to be an exemplary national policy effort, and, given its adherence to conforming values, not without merit, it‘s almost entirely focused on the personal) nor a resolutely anti-war screed (at that point in time Ozu was very much a nationalist and even came very close to realizing his goal of making a war film in order to revisit and affirm the time he spent in the army), There Was a Father (Chichi ariki) contains quite possibly Ozu's most spare and elliptically poetic depiction of life—one that represents the abstract Japanese notions of loyalty and self-sacrifice while acknowledging the resulting emotional and spiritual loss required to be borne.
In some ways standard Ozu family tale, but the structural absence of a mother highlights the feel that There Was a Father is dealing with incomplete lives. The pendulum of responsibility between father and son keep switching with time and the idea of responsibility to the other is essential here both because it deals with teachers and because of the heavy shadow WWII lands over it. The film’s large ellipsis (some result of American censorship) also add to this feeling of searching for a whole that never quite comes.
Yasujirō Ozu's Chichi Ariki revolves around Shuhei Horikawa and the relationship he has with his son Ryohei over the years, especially after an accident that changes their dynamic and leads the father to distance himself from his son and to abandon his profession as a teacher. The film brings us closer to Japanese society in the mid-twentieth century and, through the father-son relationship, the director tells us the important role of men in society, what is expected of them from an early age, their behaviour and the role they have to play according to established codes, even if this means putting duty before their own happiness. This is a look at a society in which tradition carries great weight, in…
THERE WAS A FATHER (1942) makes for an interesting gendered companion to THE ONLY SON (1936). Instead of following a self-sacrificing, widowed mother who gives everything to further her son's education, we follow a self-sacrificing, widowed father who equally lives in cankered separation from his son in order to provide for his future. The focus is exclusively paternal, not maternal, this time around.
Autobiographical threads make their way into the work, as Ozu himself also grew up separated from his father while his father worked in Tokyo to provide for the family. It's an ideological film with appeals to "father knows best," which of itself leans into a specific kind of wartime moralizing that was common during the late 30s, early…
The first act of this film is thematically very similar to writer-director Yasujirô Ozu's 1936 production, The Only Son. Instead of a single mother, there's a single father, Shuhei Horikawa (Chishû Ryû), who gives up his job teaching when one of his students dies in a boating accident that he feels he should have prevented. He moves back to his home town of Ueda with his son, Ryohei, but in order to secure the boy's higher education, the father enrolls him in a dormitory and moves back to Tokyo to work in a factory to earn enough to pay all expenses.
Years later, Ryohei graduates from college and gets a job up north in Akita as a teacher and dormitory…
SPRING CRITERION MARATHON #81
I think I should go back and rewatch the other Ozu films I saw in the winter because this was the first one to really resonate with me. Maybe it's just because I'm watching it on Father's Day.
I really, really enjoyed this for what it was and it makes me want to explore a bit more of the director's work. If you're a fan of the director already, I have to recommend it. I truly think this is an underrated masterpiece and I can't believe how little attention it's gotten in comparison to his other work.
There was a father, and he had a son. That is the foundation upon which Yasujiro Ozu builds his alluring drama. Simplicity seems to be the beam for the plot to rest on and that’s not a bad thing. This is a well grounded story and feels right at home, despite any language or socioeconomic differences the viewer may have with the characters or settings. Relatable stories are often the best kind as there is no mystery of origins or where we’re going. The mark of a great storyteller in this environment is the hold on our curiosity until the right moments to reveal – timing is everything.
When a hardworking schoolteacher (who is raising his son by himself) lands…
Just when you think you know what Ozu is doing, you are going to be surprised. His warmth lights the whole picture but you can't help but to notice the reflection of the mechanical nature of Japan's war-time society and the effect of war itself. There's no need for personal feelings seems the father say as his son follows behind. These are people who pretend to be happy whereas deeply inside they are crying. The accident that takes place during Shuhei's teaching years, cripples him emotionally and turns his focus on something else. We don't see much of him before the accident to truly judge his nature but the reluctance he many times experiences towards his son's intends to live…
Another soft and silent drama from Yasujirô Ozu, a direct contrast to the tense and terrifying war happening before, during, and after its release. His work may be quiet, but part of his incredible tragedies are how quiet they are, with clever edits placing troubled domestic situations next to unaffected and beautiful countrysides. And like many of Ozu's early work, the prints remain imperfect with a shivering frame and popping sounds, making for an invisible rain effect both in appearance and in sound. Unintentional by Ozu, of course, but it enhances what he already put in the film cleverly, subtly, and intentionally.
The strife of the common man, unglamorous and mundane, was always Ozu's go-to interest. Mikio Naruse was another…
Profoundly Heartfelt Drama Between Father and Son.
There Was a Father probably is not Ozu's top notch, but underrated. Not my favorite (still, can't beat Tokyo Twilight as my favorite number one from Ozu). Even though this is not peak of his art, still Ozu can manage how to touch your heart and soul.
Ozu leads us to the personal life of Shuhei Horikawa and his only son--Ryohei. Either, this movie shows us how Japanese culture back then that men must act be strong and independent. That men must be responsible to their duty to become leader for their family in the future.
As usual Ozu as director can serve the story with gratifying and subtle. That ending tho...hits me so hard 😭😭😭.
When people think of Yasujiro Ozu's work, you never really seem to hear a lot about There Was a Father in particular. Maybe it's because the quality itself of the film is quite damaged, and the Criterion release of it is quite bad to be honest. Or maybe it's due to the fact that The Only Son is quite similar in some ways and is more well known. Whichever the reason, I find myself absorbed much more to this movie than a lot of his other work.
I think having context for this movie helps. Released at the highest point in Japanese wartime during WW2, There Was a Father is a little time capsule to that era. The movie is…
Un film étrange, peut-être parce qu'il est le dernier tourné avant la guerre pour le cinéaste. À la fois le plus autobiographique et personnel, mais aussi le plus discutable de ses films, quant aux valeurs du travail primant sur tout et permettant le bonheur, le père fier de n'avoir jamais pris un congé maladie et qui atteindra la dignité dans la mort, etc. Il y a tout cette ambiguïté, cette lutte entre Ozu et les valeurs de son pays, et comment il tend, à travers le fils, à nous questionner sur cette question du bonheur. Au final, le fils dira que cette courte période avec son père fut la plus heureuse de sa vie, et par cette affirmation contredira le mode de pensée nationaliste de son père. Ce film enrichit aussi l'univers d'Ozu, complétant avec sa relation monoparentale Le Fils unique, au point d'en être, sur bien des aspects l'envers.
Slow, even by Ozu standards. Very contemplative though, I quite enjoyed it.
An early Ozu masterpiece. Chishū Ryū fills again the father role that he does so well in many Ozu films. Here he is a father who continues to sacrifice to make up for a perceived guilt as he also tries to connect with his own son. Wonderfully subtle. Print needs a restoration badly.
The patriarchal parallel to Ozu’s The Only Son, with also his Nationalistic tendencies peeking thru but its more emotional than just a pure propaganda film.
Seorang Yasujiro Ozu tidak pernah menjadi seorang ayah, tapi ia lihai menggambarkan karakter dengan "figur ayah" dalam cerita ini.
Sederhana, tapi sangat menyentuh lubuk hati.
"There was a Father" is a Kokumin Eiga, a so-called people's film, meant to portray everyday citizens in Imperial Japan. While there are certainly elements which could be termed propagandistic, I do not see how this film is more preachy or deceptive than any Hollywood production that gets put out in America to this day. Maybe even less.
Life is not admitting Father and Son to spend their lives together in Ozu's wartime drama. The father Shuhei, solidly portrayed by Chishū Ryū, quits his job as a teacher after he fails his supervisory duty, losing one of his students to a boating accident. Always urging his son Ryohei to excel academically, he dedicates himself to his new work, permitting Ryohei…
dobre wychowanie spoiwem społecznym, niezbędnym puntem odniesienia w podróży zwanej życiem, shōshimin eiga, Criterion...
big fatherboy energy on this one.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ozu just slaps with domestic dramas doesn’t he?
This seriously needs a new restoration based off the crazy film and audio noise from the criterion version I watched. That may have affected some of my experience but nonetheless this is a beautifully shot and edited film of a bittersweet emotional story. I would’ve wished the father’s death had a better written cause because it would be so simple to write in that he got cancer or something from his time working in the factory earlier in the film to provide for the son. Despite that slight discrepancy, the aftermath of his death is still handled well and the film ends with a profound moment.
Another beautiful film from Ozu, about parental sacrifice. Ryu is fabulous as the father who gives up his own career as a teacher to make sure his son has what he see's as a better life. Made during wartime it does stress duty and honor above all else but despite this is incredibly touching.
“Lasting happiness only comes about from the alteration of pleasure and pain”
In classic Ozu fashion, something tests tradition within a family, and it drastically changes the family for the better or worse. In this coming-of-age film (the latter half isn’t), Chishu Ryu has to deal with the loss of a student who died under his watch in a boating accident on a school trip, this loss is so great that he decides to quit teaching forever, and feels that because he hadn’t disciplined the students harshly enough that, that is why they got into a boat accident. This entirely changes his personality around his own son, Ryohei, that he sets to isolate himself from him. He sends him to…
Another wartime film from Ozu, that blocks the war out—at least from its direct view. A domestic drama that has a lot of similarities to Ozu’s previous film, The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family, this time exploring familial change without a large ensemble instead with a father-son relationship over a wider range of time. This is soft and subdued unlike that of wartime Hollywood productions that invigorated the creation of its bleakest genre, noir. More than anything it goes to show the catastrophes of war had and would not come to fully embroil the population of the United States like it would for the population of Japan. Yes, it is due in part to the conditions set down…
A sweet enough story focusing again on the father-son bond, with I believe Chishū Ryū's first starring role in an Ozu film. The final act is particularly well done.
mishima24 13,339 films
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