The Only Son
(Hitori Musuko)

Screening on Film
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu.
With Chishu Ryu, Choko Iida, Shinichi Himori.
Japan, 1936, 35mm, black & white, 87 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Ozu’s first “talkie” was also, according to critic Donald Richie, “one of Ozu’s darkest.” A peasant mother sacrifices everything to pay for her only son’s education in Tokyo, but when she comes to visit him discovers that her struggle has not paid off. Many of Ozu’s themes—generational conflicts, the dashed hopes of youth, and disappointment in life—are given stark expression in this ambitious narrative with its complex time span and innovative use of sound. While The Only Son marked Ozu’s entry into sound production, it was the last film he shot at the Kamata studio, which could no longer be used with the advent of sound because of frequent passing trains.

Part of film series

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Yasujiro Ozu.
A Centennial Celebration