Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Where Have the Dreams of Youth All Gone?

Tough Love Is Radical Protocol

Seishun no yume ima idzuko [Where Have the Dreams of Youth All Gone?] by Yasujirô Ozu, 1932:

If there were no image track, 90 minutes of black leader, and only this title, it would certainly be a classic, a film to show your children the eve of their departure out of state for art-school / Where Have the Dreams of Youth All Gone? [Seishun no yume ima idzuko] comes the same year as A Picture-Book for Grown-Ups: I Was Born, But... and a handful of other features — if it's not quite as even as that movie or the great Tokyo Chorus it is perhaps due to the nucleic arrangement of leads (who nevertheless include Ureo Egawa, Tatsuo Saitô, Chishû Ryû) and a Kôgo Noda scenario that doesn't start to coalesce until the final third, but better late than never / Ozu hasn't yet progressed into constructing an infinite psychology of his women / His subject is Japanese boy-school rumph-rumph camaraderie again (in preparation for the final ten or fifteen years of his cinema which in part or as a whole can be titled Where Have the Dreams of Youth All Gone?, but this is obvious), the graduation-comedy boys'-romance / Nevertheless, there are women, and there is handiwork / There's biting off the thread of the mending / And in Where Have the Dreams of Youth All Gone? there is a custodian with the same force to motivate the action as the faculty, the universe would explode if this happened in the modern age of movies, Freddy Krueger notwithstanding / Ozu with Renoir has shown it all — removing lint from a navel, etc. / Of course waterbags and death's door are as common as the common cold in early Ozu / A leap — suddenly Tetsuo (Egawa) takes over his father's position at the family firm, i.e., the school, from student to headmaster, a fantasy / Blink your eyes and it happens / Smocks for the women at the office / "A year later, the new president still looks like a student" (unlike Zuckerberg he reads Vanity Fair and smokes) / It's not as easy to spend money, to be rich, in 1932, you have to have cash or write checks / "I... am Tetsuo." / Two grown-up school chums moving heads in synch like the young siblings in the previous films / Million Dollar Legs by W. C. Fields and Eddie Cline / Overt melodrama of early Ozu / Fireworks going off as usual express passion but the hand on the windowpane is a new modulation / "The boss and the secretary — it's banal." / The climax in which the entire scene plays out in the gloom of a matted lens, stormclouds around the shocking, important explosion which blows aside the relative banalities of the preceding reels in the film / From this point to the end where, in the final scene, the lens opens wide and the matte disappears, the film achieving a great poetry in image and montage — the waving pair of trees (bringing to mind the macaws in the first image of Film Socialisme) — then two, and two, and two — Saiki and Oshige on the train, waving — the three copains waving back from the rooftop of work at the train as it passes, their arms lowering, slowly, uncertainly — in perfect synchronicity...

Seishun no yume ima idzuko [Where Have the Dreams of Youth All Gone?] by Yasujirô Ozu, 1932:


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