WHERE NOW ARE THE DREAMS OF YOUTH? (SEISHUN NO YUME IMA IZUKO)
(director: Yasujiro Ozu; screenwriter: Kogo Noda; cinematographer: Hideo Mohara; editor: Hideo Mohara; cast: Ureo Egawa (Tetsuo Horino), Tatsuo Saito (Saiki), Haruo Takeda (Kenzo Horino, father), Ryôtarô Mizushima (Kanzo, uncle), Choko Iida (Saiki’s Mother), Chishu Ryu (Shimazaki), Takeshi Sakamoto (College Janitor), Kinuyo Tanaka (Oshige), Ayako Katsuragi (Mrs. Yamamura), Satoko Date (Miss Yamamura), Kenji Oyama (Kumada); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; BFI-PAL DVD format; 1932-silent-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)
“The theme covered is class relations.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Yasujiro Ozu (“I Was Born, But …”/”Dragnet Girl”/”Tokyo Twilight”)directs one of his noted student comedies, but this pic, written by Kogo Noda, turns darker in the second half when the college students graduate and join the workforce. The theme covered is class relations and how in Japan’s hierarchical society before the war distance remains between the classes. Again, like in all his student comedies, there are American posters for Hell’s Angels and Million Dollar Legs on the walls of the student apartments.
Tetsuo Horino (Ureo Egawa) is the playful son of wealthy company director Kenzo Horino (Haruo Takeda), who treats his son with affection. College life is fun for Tetsuo, who pals around with idler friends Kumada (Kenji Oyama) and Shimazaki (Chishu Ryu), and the studious but not too bright Saiki (Tatsuo Saito). The pretty bakery waitress, Oshge (Kinuyo Tanaka), in the student hangout, has a cautious romance with Tetsuo. The feckless Tetsuo is aided by his dad in avoiding an arranged marriage with the vulgar thrill-seeking westernized Miss Yamamura (Satoko Date), and revels in his freedom and privileged life. While taking his final exams and cheating by having Kumada fake a broken arm and hide his notes in a sling, Tetsuo‘s informed his dad suddenly died from a cerebral hemorrhage and he must leave college to replace him as director of the firm. Guided by his uncle Kanzo (Ryôtarô Mizushima), the immature Tetsuo tries to be more serious and dress the part of a boss. A year later his three college pals graduate and come to him for jobs. He helps them cheat to pass the company entrance exam, and later runs into Oshige in the street. She also is recruited to work for him, as the bakery closes because of bad business during the Depression. Realizing he loves her despite class differences, he plans on marrying her and gets the approval of his three pals. But whenSaiki’s (Choko Iida) mom visits his office, she tells him her son is engaged to Oshige. Confronting Oshige he learns that she agreed to the marriage because she felt sorry for Saiki and never dreamed a president of a company would want to marry her. Since Oshige gave her word, Tetsuo agrees to give up the love of his life. The friends are reunited after an angry Tetsuo violently berates the lackey Saiki for his cowardliness to tell he was engaged. A more worldly Tetsuo now learns how to live with life disappointments, hoping to carry on as a privileged member of society without being too overbearing and perhaps more sensitive to those beneath him. Friendship is held up as a virtue that can break through class barriers, to a point. But the boss realizes he has lost his girl and college friends forever, and all that remains is good feelings and plenty of distance to grow in the future in their fragile relationship.
REVIEWED ON 10/30/2012 GRADE: B+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/