DVD of the Week – “Silent Ozu – Three Family Comedies” Box Set

by HELEN GEIB

i_was_born_but

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

Original Commentary Track review of I Was Born, But… by Helen Geib.

New releases this week: 12, The Edge of Love, Grey Gardens, The Haunting in Connecticut

3 responses to “DVD of the Week – “Silent Ozu – Three Family Comedies” Box Set

  1. Good ol’ Ozu. Never imitated, always there to inspire and entertain us.
    I love these three films. There is something of a natural aspect to them, especially “I was born, but…”.

  2. I was lucky enough to see I Was Born, But… and Tokyo Chorus in two of those rare repertory screenings and enjoyed them very much, especially I Was Born, But…. Here’s hoping the set sells well enough to prompt a second edition! It would be wonderful to see the rest of his silent films come to DVD as well. I’d especially like to see Days of Youth again.

  3. I know, Ozu’s just amazing.

    It’s strange how everyone thinks that ‘Tokyo Story” is his best film but I think “Floating Weeds (remake, 1959)” and “Late Spring” are the best.
    I will deliver a “Floating Weeds” review at one point. 0_<

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