special-event-silent-classic-i-was-born-but-mar-15thA witty silent comedy about growing up. Two young boys move with their family into a new home and run into the neighbouring children, their ringleaders and their parents. (Cert U)
Dir: Yasujirô Ozu 87 mins Japan 1932
Andrew Youdell returns to accompany on piano our annual silent film.
The screening will begin at 7.30 p.m. and take place at St Nicolas Church, Market Place, Abingdon.

Programme Notes

A Special Event for the Abingdon Arts Festival

I Was Born, But …
Japan 1932 87 minutes Cert. U

A sophisticated comedy in which two rascally young brothers are involved in conflict with bullies, play truant, and feed birds’ eggs to their dog and so forth – light comedy, in other words. But the film also has them discover the humiliations their father is subjected to by his boss, who is the father of one of their friends. And thus they become aware of the reality of adult life – some have economic and social status, some do not.

with piano accompaniment by Andrew Youdell

Chichi – Tatsuo Saitô
Haha, Yoshii’s wife – Mitsuko Yoshikawa
Ryoichi, Yoshii’s elder son – Hideo Sugahara
Keiji, Yoshii’s younger son – Tokkankozo (Tomio Aoki)
Iwasaki, Yoshii’s boss – Takeshi Sakamoto
Fujin, Iwasaki’s wife – Teruyo Hayami
Taro, Iwasaki’s son – Seiichi Kato

Director – Yasujirô Ozu
Screenplay – Akira Fushimi, Geibei Ibushiya, based on an idea by James Maki (Yasujirô Ozu)
Cinematography – Hideo Shigehara
Lighting – Toshimitsu Nakajima
Art Director – Yoshiro Kimura

“Its visual style is so dynamic that you hardly notice; both the gags and the emotional disappointments are anchored in a sure sense of characterisation that remains wholly fresh, and the pace of the whole film is worthy of Buster Keaton at his best ” – Tony Rayns, Time Out


“Very good”

“It was wonderful!”

“Such a good blend of film and music”

“Very funny, very sad – a wonderful film and superb music. Thanks Andrew!”

“The music was wonderful.”

“Many thanks to Andrew Youdell!”

“Thank you for the music – it was great.”

“Andrew Youdell excellent as always. A delightful film!”

“Charming, perfectly charming, my dear!”

“How amusing and so well shot”

“Silent films don’t often have a more serious tone but this was enjoyable on a number of levels – comedy, Japanese culture – which was most interesting – social comment and great acting. Well chosen!”

“A wonderful film. Interesting that the playfulness between the boys was so like that in the previous Japanese film [Good Morning]”

“Humour occasionally lost in translation but a great portrait of suburban life. Superb piano accompaniment as always.”

“Historically fascinating. The child actors were brilliant. Very thought provoking.”

“An insight into Japanese society – enjoyable”

“An interesting view of Japanese society, culture, customs – and costumes!”

“It’s hard not to imagine the future of the two boys as soldiers in Manchuria or Burma a few years later.”

“Whilst some of the cultural contexts may seem a bit awkward to understand, like the calligraphy scene, this was a charming comedy with some entertaining moments.”

“More lavish subtitles [i.e. intertitles] would have been welcome. The film reminded me of the family watching TV …. [the Royle Family?] Some moving and funny moments. Humour rather repetitive but charming for a lot of the time.”

“Just a novelty now. Why did Ozu film close-ups with (the characters’) heads missing?”

“Interesting but just a little too dated for my taste”

“All right but a bit tedious”

“A bit dull”


A:34, B:20, C:8, D:0, E:0 to give 85%