HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Laguna Ave.
Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11
Amulet
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
   
 
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Good Morning I want my TV!
Year: 1959
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Keiji Sada, Yoshiko Kuga, Chishu Ryu, Kuniko Miyake, Haruko Sugimura, Shitara Koji, Masahiko Shimazu, Kyoko Izumi, Taiji Tonoyama
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: In a quiet Tokyo suburb youngsters Minoru (Shitara Koji) and Isamu (Masahiko Shimazu) Hayashi like to watch television at their neighbor's house. This displeases Mrs. Hayashi (Kuniko Miyake) who, like most women in the neighborhood, contends the TV-owning couple set an unwholesome example. For her part Mrs. Hayashi winds up a target of suspicion when busybody Mrs. Haraguchi (Haruko Sugimura) claims she has not paid her monthly dues for the local women's club. When Minoru and Isamu ask their parents to buy a TV set, Mrs. Hayashi refuses. Partly for fear of further fuelling the gossips' mistaken belief she is flush with cash. Her refusal prompts a tantrum from the boys whereupon Mr. Hayashi (Chishu Ryu) demands they be silent. So Minoru and Isamu decide that is exactly what they will do. As a protest they refuse to speak a word until their parents buy a television set.

To this day Yasujirô Ozu remains feted by critics around the world for his minimalistic, socially observant slice of life dramas. Among them the profoundly moving Tokyo Story (1953) which also co-stars actors Chishu Ryu and Haruko Sugimura. Yet Ozu did not restrict himself to solemn dramas. In fact he began his career directing a number of silent comedies including the children-centred I Was Born, But... (1931) of which Good Morning is a loose remake. Of course Ozu being Ozu this return to comedy is a wry social satire rather than a gut-busting giggle-fest although the great director did add something new to his arsenal: fart jokes. Not the sort of thing Ozu's art-house admirers in the West might expect from the maker of low-key, humanist fare. But yes, the child heroes of Good Morning are obsessed with perfecting their poots. To do that Minoru and Isamu take to consuming small quantities of powdered Pumice stone. In fact one reoccurring gag concerns Mrs. Haraguchi's son whose attempts to match the boys' bottom-burping prowess end with him soiling himself.

Gags about gaseous emissions aside Good Morning deals primarily with social etiquette and its continuing importance in Japanese society as well as the clash between pre and post-war values. Is the film an indictment of rigid conservatism among 'traditional' Japanese or the western consumerist infected sense of entitlement among the post-war generation? Probably a little of both. Ozu neither criticizes the elders nor Minoru and Isamu but highlights the divide between parents concerned with job security and saving for old age and kids happy to splurge on a consumer item almost all of the older folks consider useless. Mr. Hayashi worries television will reduce Japan to a nation of 'idiots' to which his drinking buddies agree that it is "a bad idea to have too much convenience in life." However, Mrs. Hayashi's reasons for spurning the TV set have more to do with her standing among her gossipy neighbors. Propriety is everything among these middle-class suburbs and Ozu cannily highlights how the Japanese will tie themselves in knots to avoid being shamed in front of their peers. Good Morning deftly illustrates how a seemingly small gesture like children refusing to talk can have a big impact on a close-knit community. Specifically, Minoru and Isamu refuse to indulge in the traditional Japanese tenet of politeness. Baffled by the boys' silence, neighbors mistakenly believe it has something to do with themselves. Poor old Mrs. Hayashi bears the brunt of their ensuing misunderstanding, paranoia and passive-aggressive hostility. By simply refusing to talk, the children become a genuinely disruptive influence and almost unravel their delicate community.

The film's message is deeply Japanese. One need not necessarily like one's neighbors but you cannot function without them, so it is best to be polite. However, whether by accident or design, there are a few cracks in its altruistic outlook. Everyone in the neighborhood seems to have a low opinion of the westernized couple that share their television set with the local kids, even though they seem perfectly nice people. Even Minoru and Isamu's schoolteacher (Keiji Sada) makes a point of giving the westernized woman the cold shoulder while slowly falling for the boys Aunt Setsuko (Yoshiko Kuga), a model of dutiful, polite Japanese virtue. True to form Ozu proves more interested in exploring the way people interact by crisscrossing subplots and strays from the central conceit in a way few comedies would. One could argue the core issues remained unresolved come the fadeout and no-one really learns a lesson. Yet Good Morning remains an insightful look at the social dilemmas amidst immediate post-war Japan and the performances, particularly by young actors Shitara Koji and Masahiko Shimazu, remain delightfully natural.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2765 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: