Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good Morning (Yasujiro Ozu, 1959)

Yasujiro Ozu's Good Morning (1959).

Last night I watched my first film by Yasujiro Ozu, Good Morning. I have heard a lot about Ozu ever since I first started following Asian cinema but still I didn't really know what to expect. Usually, people say that they love his films but then only talk about the technical aspects of his filmmaking, the editing and the way he shoots his films. I was prepared to be entertained or bored to tears and I ended up somewhere in between, closer to the positive side.

Good Morning's main story, if you can call it that, is about the children of a few families who are neighbors. The kids usually go over to a younger couple to watch sumo wrestling on tv, but when their parents orders them not to, and then scold them for asking too much about getting a tv-set of their own, the kids go on a silence strike as a protest to the adults' meaningless polite chit-chat.

The unnecessary chatter of the adults is shown in a side story about the wives, where the unfounded rumors of one of them buying a washing machine for their collective money begin spreading in the neighborhood, and also in the way two people who may be in love just engage in empty conversation. Perhaps it is necessary though, to make interacting with others easier.

The way the film is shot, with a mostly static camera, and the editing, always showing the person talking head on, almost calls attention to itself by being so straight forward, but after a while I got used to it. It actually helps in making the events of daily life in the film seem more real, which I think is one of the films strongest points, one of the others being humor. A lot of the events in the film are depicted with a lot of humor, especially those of the children, and that also helps in making the characters seem more alive.

All in all, Good Morning turned out to be an enjoyable film and a lot funnier than I had expected. I look forward to seeing more of Ozu's films.


leigh~ said...


One thing that is noticeable in Ozu's films is the idea of Westernism/Americanization. In "Late Spring" there is this huge sign that says "drink coca cola" and in "Ohayo" it is almost as if they're frowning upon Western Consumerism. Of course, this was occurring at the time of Westernization so it couldn't help but reflect attitudes towards it. Some would embrace it while others would reject it...

Executive Koala said...

I noticed it too, but only in the most obivous way, with the tv and the younger couple dressing differently and not being too popular with the other neighbors.