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DAYS OF YOUTH (GAKUSEI ROMANSU: WAKAKI HI) (director/writer: Yasujiro Ozu; screenwriter: Akira Fushimi; cinematographer: Hideo Mohara; editor: Hideo Mohara; cast: Ichirô Yuki (Watanabe), Tatsuo Saitô (Yamamoto), Junko Matsui (Chieko), Shin’ichi Himori (Hatamoto), Chôko Iida(Chieko’s Aunt), Takeshi Sakamoto (Professor); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; BFI-PAL DVD format; 1929-silent-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)

This early Ozu shows how the great filmmaker evolved from filming whimsical comedies to his deeper more mature later films.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Yasujiro Ozu (“Story of Floating Weeds”/”Tokyo Twilight”/”Tokyo Story”)directs this lighthearted silent student comedy that was influenced by Harold Lloyd’s slapstick antics in The Freshman (1925).This early Ozu shows how the great filmmaker evolved from filming whimsical comedies to his deeper more mature later films. It was Ozu’s eight film but his first surviving one.Ozu co-writes it with Akira Fushimi.

Idler studentWatanabe (Ichirô Yuki) is a friendly but underachieving college student who maintains his own apartment in the lower-middle-class section of Tokyo. In order to attract a pretty young girl, Watanabe places a sign on his upstairs apartment window that his place is for rent. After turning away several ineligible tenants, he rents the room to the attractive Chieko (Junko Matsui) and moves in with his best friend and bookish but socially awkward college classmate Yamamoto (Tatsuo Saitô). The boys finish taking their final exams and plan to relax during the recess by joining other students at a country ski lodge, but Yamamoto is annoyed that Watanabe has been a distraction and cause of his not studying as hard as he usually does. Also Yamamoto met Chieko earlier and the two students are unaware they are wooing the same girl.

The college boys meet Chieko at the ski resort and after a series of misadventures trying to flirt with Chieko, on the third day of their skiing vacation learn that Chieko’s Aunt (Chôko Iida) has arrived to announce the pre-arranged marriage of Chieko with the haughty student ski leader Hatamoto (Shin’ichi Himori). The boys on the fourth day of their holiday take the train home and meet on the train their feared professor (Takeshi Sakamoto), who informs them they both failed their exams. Watanabe feels guilty about causing Yamamoto’s poor grade, and tries to make it up to him by planning to get him a pretty girl by using the same ploy that worked on Chieko. As the disconsolate Watanabe realizes that friendship is more important than any girl.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”