James M. Macleod’s review published on Letterboxd:
Silent Ozu isn’t very far off from sound Ozu. Quietly tragic drama plays out through a story of a theatre troupe’s leader. They’re visiting a town they stop in every so often where he has a son; a son who doesn’t know he is his father. All of Ozu’s films in some way, that I’ve seen, comment on the particular culture of Japan and how certain assumptions or what-have-you lead to emotional crisis’ within our lives. In this case the father feels it would shame his son too much for him to know his origins, when in reality the kid just wants a Dad. They have a decent relationship as is, as friends, but it’ll forever be tainted by its foundation in lies.
Ozu’s great at projecting the thoughts of characters on screen. Like when the boy and his new girlfriend, who started seeing him for less-than-honourable reasons, are faced with a number of conflicting messages. They stand with phone lines behind them. Lots of different thoughts running in parallel going through their mind. While they stand next to a train tracks. So their path seems like it should be clear, that it should be direct, but so much else is going on within for them to even consider the simpler path. All of our weaknesses, insecurities, assumptions, and all that, can be perpetual chains holding us back from the path to some kind of happiness. Not my favourite Ozu, but emblematic of his power.