Good Morning (Ohayo)
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
Written by Kogo Noda and Yasujiro Ozu
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
Ozu reaches back to his silent days to direct a pure comedy (with plenty of fart jokes!) in living color.
The setting is a contemporary Tokyo neighborhood. We get a slice of the lives of various families and a glimpse at neighborhood dynamics, including plenty of backstabbing and gossip.
The story centers around little boys. The sons of the Hayashi family (perhaps 10 and 5 years old) love nothing better than to go to a neighbor’s house to watch sumo wrestling on TV. This is forbidden by their parents who want them to be studying. Finally, the boys revolt. They repeatedly demand that father (Chisu Ryu) buy them a TV set. He refuses and tells them to shut up about it. They respond by going on strike and refusing to speak at all. Their weird silence does nothing to enhance the family’s standing in the neighborhood.
This funny and charming film is a kind of remake of Ozu’s 1932 silent film, I Was Born But …, with the boys substituting a silence strike for a hunger strike. There is no marriage drama. Ozu’s theme of generational divides is embodied in the struggle over the TV, however. The director’s use of color and composition is as masterful as ever. Warmly recommended.