|A MOTHER SHOULD BE LOVED (HAHA WO KOWAZUYA) (director: Yasujiro Ozu; screenwriters: Kôgo Noda/Tadao Ikeda/based on an idea by Yasujiro Ozu; cinematographer: Isamu Aoki; cast: Iwata Yukichi (Mr. Kajiwara) , Den Ohikata (Sadao), Seiichi Kato (Sadao as child), (Maki), Mitsuko Yoshikawa (Chieko), Chishû Ryû (Hattori), Hideo Mitsui (Kosaku), Shusei Nomura (Kosaku as child), Shinyo Nara (Okazaki ), Kyôko Mitsukawa (Kazuko), Yumeko Aizome (Mitsuko), Choko Lida (Maid), Junko Matsui (Ranko); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; BFI-PAL format; 1934-silent-Japan-in Japanese)|
first and last of nine reels is missing in this
early silent family melodrama directed by the great
Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu."
by Dennis Schwartz
first and last of nine reels is missing in this early
silent family melodrama directed by the great Japanese
filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu ("Late Autumn"/"The
Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice"/"Equinox Flower"). It's
based on an idea by Ozu and is written by Kôgo Noda and Tadao Ikeda.
In the missing opening reel, during
breakfast the patriarch (Iwata Yukichi) of the Kajiwara family plans to take
his older son Sadao (Seiichi Kato) and younger son Kosaku (Shusei Nomura) to the beach after school, but
while the kids are in school the father suddenly
dies after collapsing in his business office.
Eight years later Sadao (Den Ohikata) learns while registering for
college that he is the son of his father's first
wife. He's angered that his stepmom Chieko (Mitsuko Yoshikawa) kept it a secret, but relents when
he learns from his uncle (Shinyo Nara) she did so to
raise him with the same love reserved for her real
biological son. As they grow older, Kosaku
(Hideo Mitsui) begins to resent his
brother because he's favored by mom.
An agitated Sadao dwells in a
Yokohama brothel with the prostitute Mitsuko (Yumeko Aizome), but after a
quarrel returns home. There he provokes a fight with
mom in order to improve the relationship of his
brother with his mom. Chieko understands why Sadao
picked a fight and finally tells Kosaku about his brother's
secret. This leaves Kosaku
with guilt-feelings about resenting his brother.
When mom goes to the
brothel to bring back Sadao, he refuses her pleas to
return home. The brothel maid (Choko Lida) lectures him on his
rudeness and tells him 'a mother should be loved.'
That registers with Sadao, who returns home and the
family is reconciled. The missing last reel explains
through intertitles the family has moved to a more
modest suburban home because their income has
The continuity of the film
is damaged by the missing reels, making it difficult
to judge its true value. In any case, this is a minor
film in Ozu's opus. It's one that I found unappealing
by striving so hard to be appealing, nevertheless it's still worth watching
for the way the family is pointedly observed in very
human and comical ways.
REVIEWED ON 10/7/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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