<i>Passing Fancy</i>

Courtesy Film Forum

Yasujiro Ozu focused a lot on the struggles of the working class in much of his early work, but he was not the type to rub our noses in misery — just as none of his characters was the type to wallow in it. His 1933 silent Passing Fancy provides an especially touching example of Ozu's humanism, finding plenty of warmth, humor, pathos, and, above all, dignity in the struggles of Kihachi (Takeshi Sakamoto) — an uneducated, prideful, hard-drinking, skirt-chasing yet well-meaning and endearing character — to provide for his rebellious, wise-beyond-his-years son, Tomio (Tokkan Kozo). This particular screening offers a rare opportunity to see the film with a benshi performer narrating and acting out all the parts live, as was common practice with silent films in the early decades of Japanese cinema.
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