Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • U
  • Comedy
  • 1959
  • 94 mins

Good Morning

Good Morning

Synopsis

Set in a suburban Tokyo housing estate in the late 1950s, Yasujiro's Ozu's Ohayo examines the rebellion of two young brothers against their parents

About

A reworking of Ozu's earlier silent movie I Was Born But... Good Morning (Oyaho) was made towards the end of the Japanese writer-director's distinguished career.

Aged 13 and 7 respectively, Minoru (Shidara) and Isamu Hayashi (Shimazu) slip away after school to watch sumo wrestling on a neighbouring couple's television set. Scolded by their own father (who reckons that TV "will produce 100 million idiots") for talking too much, the brothers decide on a vow of silence. After all don't grown-ups waste words with their silly phrases such as "good morning' and "fine day"?

Ozu doesn't just focus on the Hayashi family. He deftly weaves together a number of interconnected stories concerning other members of this particular community. A grandmother is roundly chastised by her busybody daughter for forgetting to tell her somebody had paid their dues to the local Women's Association. A teacher Heichiro (Sada) falls for the lady Setsuko (Kuga) who provides him with translation work. And an elderly man takes solace in alcohol after being let go by his employers.

Visually, Good Morning conforms to Ozu's trademark pared-down style. There are the punctuating establishing shots – in this case of passageways, kids walking to and from school, washing lines, and domestic exteriors – which establish the tightknit nature of the estate, where front doors literally open onto one another. The static camera never rises above waist level, and often takes up a low-angle perspective (reinforcing the sense of a child’s eye view), and there's a preference for deep-focus interior compositions.

Ozu displays an interesting ambivalence towards small talk in Good Morning. On the one hand the film shows the destructive nature of gossip, which helps to drive out the more bohemian couple, and which leads to various misunderstandings and false assumptions. On the other there's the acceptance of everyday banalities, what one character calls, "A kind of social lubrication that helps make living together possible."

Above all Good Morning is blessed with a comic streak. Those for whom Ozu represents the epitome of austere arthouse cinema may be surprised to learn that one of the film's dominant motifs is the passing of wind by Minoru and Isamu, a form of rebellion against the strictures of daily life. Finally there's the amusing sight of Heichiro attempting to woo Setsuo at the station, not through romantic words but by discussing the weather.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Teruko Nagaoka, Kuniko Miyake, Yoshiko Kuga, Eiko Miyoshi, Masuo Fujkiki, Chishu Ryu
  • Director: Yasujiro Ozu
  • Screen Writer: Kôgo Noda, Yasujiro Ozu
  • Producer: Shizo Yamanouchi
  • Photographer: Yuharu Atsuta
  • Composer: Toshirô Mayuzumi

In a nutshell

This may not be one of Ozu's most acclaimed works, yet its contemplative style and its qualities of humour, tenderness and absence of cynicism make for an absorbing film.

by Tom Dawson

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    We Bought a Zoo

    A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family

    On Film4: 6 Sep 6:25PM

  • Film4

    The Nebraskan

    Philip Carey stars as a calvary scout who attempts to make peace with the Sioux Indians

    On Film4: 8 Sep 11:00AM

  • Film4

    Trance on Film4

    A crime thriller by Danny Boyle, starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson.

  • Film4

    Stand Up Guys on Film4

    Al Pacino and Christoper Walken star in this crime comedy about a pair of criminals reunited after one gets out of prison

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Catherine Bray¿s 20 LFF 2015 recommendations

    The 59th BFI London Film Festival runs 7th ¿ 18th October ¿ here are Film4 editorial director Catherine Bray¿s 20 top picks. Including fiction and documentary, there are 238 features playing at the 59

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Six Film4-backed films selected for TIFF 2015

    Room, High-Rise, The Lobster, Youth, 45 Years and Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance have been selected for this year¿s Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from Septem

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share