Dekigokoro (1933)

a.k.a Passing Fancy

Two Tokyo co-workers come across a destitute young lady in search of a place to live.


Master Ozu, you get me every time! I thought Passing Fancy would leave me tearless, given that it's a silent film and as much comedy as it is melodrama, but with Ozu, you can pretty much bet character will bawl their eyes out at some point, and so will you, though not necessarily at the same point. In this one, a single father takes an interest in a homeless girl and gets her a job, and while he develops feelings for her, she falls for his best friend who doesn't care for her. And then there's his kid, who feels neglected as his dad goes through this. The one-way triangle successfully hides who and what is a "passing fancy", and the film builds up your sympathy for the characters through infectious smiles in the first half. Our protagonist isn't a particularly good father, but he's trying , and there's a real sense of community between the characters that triumphs over the angst. That's what I found most touching. On a technical level, pre-war Ozu uses a much more mobile camera, but he still keeps it low even if it means cutting off heads. I'm not sure about that choice, but one I AM sure about is the way he starts scenes technically inside the previous scene, the way we might with sound, except with interstitials. It feels bold and modern, within the silent genre.

a year ago


Tears of joy, tears of sorrow.

2 years ago

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