Back when I started this blog, I was trying to keep a record as I began to explore Japanese film in greater depth. I was someone who had spent a significant chunk of their adult life either living in or studying Japan, but Japanese cinema was a blind spot for me beyond a handful of films. I started by going straight to Akira Kurosawa, whose name is still synonymous with Japanese cinema, but I’ve still barely scratched the surface when it comes to other giants of the past – those directors like Yasjuiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Kon Ichikawa, and Mikio Naruse whose names and careers are often linked, like in this feature from the Toronto Film Festival.
Ozu is particularly fascinating to me in the way he straddles the silent and sound eras, and in that many of his earliest works are now lost. The earliest known surviving film of his is Days of Youth from 1929: a gentle, slow-paced comedy following two university students (Ichiro Yuki and Tatsuo Saito) as they vie for the attentions of Chieko (Junko Matsui).Continue reading “Review: Days of Youth (1929)”