by HELEN GEIB
Today’s DVD pick is a box set of three silent films by renowned Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu. The set, titled “Silent Ozu – Three Family Comedies,” was released by Criterion under its Eclipse label and includes Tokyo Chorus (1931), I Was Born, But… (1932), and Passing Fancy (1933).
Describing the films as comedies is not wrong, but it can give the wrong impression: the stories are a mix of light comedy and low-key domestic drama. Released towards the end of Japan’s silent era, the films were great popular successes. This DVD release provides American admirers a welcome, long-overdue opportunity to see them outside the rare repertory theater screening.
The Eclipse label is Criterion’s budget arm. That means the set costs less than a comparable Criterion Collection release, but it has no special features (although there is a short introductory essay on the films in Criterion’s online journal Current). Each film has a new score by Donald Sosin and the original Japanese title cards are subtitled in English
New releases this week: 12, The Edge of Love, Grey Gardens, The Haunting in Connecticut