There was a father

There was a father

[Chichi ariki]

DVD - 2010 | Japanese
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A widowed high school teacher finds that the more he tries to do what is best for his son's future, the more they are separated.


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Sep 02, 2018

It was difficult to truly completely understand the father's rationale for the separation from his son. As a non-Japanese viewer, this notion of self sacrifice for the country seems a tad extreme, however that was the reality of the Japanese at that time. Another wonderful movie by Ozu.

Dec 05, 2014

Unable to forgive himself after one of his students accidentally drowns during a class trip Shuhei Horikawa, a widowed highschool professor, turns his back on teaching and returns to his hometown with his young son Ryohei in tow. But supporting the two of them proves to be tougher than he thought so he enrolls the boy in a boarding school and heads off to Tokyo in search of more lucrative employment. Distant trains, wafting smoke, and stone monuments mark both the passage of time and the inexorable hand of fate, while some cleverly constructed camera angles speak of life’s continuity; father and son often reflecting each other’s movements while in the background a river flows or a monk patiently grinds wheat into flour. But Ozu is also quick to point out that sons are not mere copies of their fathers, a fact brought out with droll humour as we watch Shuhei lecture his class on the symmetrical nature of angles while years later Ryohei teaches his own class about the explosive nature of dynamite. Lastly, a wistful closing scene gently reminds us that sometimes children learn more from their parents’ mistakes…

Jun 11, 2013

This is a 1942 Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu (小津安二郎).
The film looks into the relationship between a single father played by Chishu Ryu (笠智衆) and his only son (Shuji Sano:佐野周二).
Included in this DVD is a 23-minute interview made in 2010 with two film scholars
David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson who analize the film in terms of social and dramatic perspectives.
This interview makes you realize that the film sends out more messages such as a sense of duty as well as a sense of sacrifice than simply describing a subtle father-and-son relationship.
Yasujirō Ozu wrote the first draft of this film before he was drafted into China in 1937.
On returning for Japan, he re-wrote it again before filming.
It is amazing that he didn't include a superficial propaganda as other directors did during these war years.
Ozu seems to have remained cool-headed during the war and he focused more on inner worlds rather than on the militaristic outer world.
The father-and-son relationship of Chishu Ryu (笠智衆) reminds me of the father-and-daughter scenes in the 1949 movie "Late Spring (晩春)" that starred Setsuko Hara (原節子).

voisjoe1 Jun 03, 2013

“There was a Father” is a great Yasujiro Ozu film starring one of his favorite actors, Chishu Ryu. Because of circumstances and/or choice, a widowed father and young son begin to live apart and do not get the opportunity to see one another for a long time. And choices are made that continue this separation. Somehow the duty or sacrifice to the country or career, separation, is more important than being together. One lesson, is to savor the company of your family members and eliminate absence for nebulous, prideful or foolish reasons, for life slips by and you will not be able to regain lost opportunities.


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