Analysis of “There Was A Father”, prologue

1. It was more than 20 years ago. Back then, the chances to encounter Ozu’s works were relatively limited. The VHS catalogs or theatrical screenings usually consisted of works from 50’s and 60’s, the later masterpieces. So when I found “There Was A Father” was scheduled on late-night TV, I was quite excited. It was probably around ’86 or ’87. It made quite an impression on me. The print was in a miserable condition, but through scratches, specs, damages, flickering and shaky frames, the ethereal world lost to us emerged. Since then, I was quite captivated by the film. It …

The Exhausted Soldier

Propaganda films are, in principle, very clear about what message it should convey. One of the most notable example, TRIUMPH OF THE WILL is very efficient in transmitting its message. Images are designed to portray Nazi regime to be the liberator of German race, the symbol of national rebirth. Absurd, sure, but in 1934 Germany, an average citizen never knew the horrors to come. TRIUMPH is a very unique material. It is a rather dull document of the Nazi party political rally, propaganda to every frame. In Japan during WWII, any media, newspaper, literature, art, theater, film was heavily censored …

Incomplete Mediocrity

The year was 1938. For film lovers, it is the year of BRINGING UP BABY, ALEXANDER NEVSKY and THE LADY VANISHES. At the same time, it was anticipating the great year of 1939. In Japan, however, it was the year with few notable works. Sadao Yamanaka was drafted to military the previous year and died in China in September of 1938. Yasujiro Ozu was also drafted. Mikio Naruse and Kenji Mizoguchi were struggling with minor works. But Japanese movie-going public at the time saw the most phenomenal film of the prewar era this year. In terms of popularity, no prewar …