Films By Yasujiro Ozu

Two silent narratives by the Japanese director, surviving only in fragments. A Straightforward Boy (1929) was a 40-minute comedy inspired by O. Henry’s The Ransom of Red Chief; the 14 minutes extant hilariously recount the misery of a kidnapper who’s abducted a bratty child. (Little Tomio Aiko made such an impact that he permanently changed his name to Tokkan Kozo, the Japanese title). A Mother Should Be Loved (1934, 71 min.), which is missing the first and last reels, takes on melodramatic material more suited to Douglas Sirk: two grown brothers are alienated after the older one secretly discovers that their mother is really his stepmother. Subtitled Japanese intertitles fill in the missing bits of plot; the first film is untranslated. (JR)

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