Yasujiro Ozu

There Was a Father

There Was a Father

Yasujiro Ozu’s frequent leading man Chishu Ryu is riveting as Shuhei, a widowed high school teacher who finds that the more he tries to do what is best for his son’s future, the more they are separated. Though primarily a delicately wrought story of parental love, There Was a Father offers themes of sacrifice that were deemed appropriately patriotic by Japanese censors at the time of its release during World War II, making it a uniquely political film in Ozu’s body of work.

Film Info

  • Yasujiro Ozu
  • Japan
  • 1942
  • 87 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #526

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer
  • New video interview with film scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns, an appreciation of actor Chishu Ryu by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie, and comments by Ryu on director Yasujiro Ozu

Available In

Collector's Set

The Only Son/There Was a Father: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu

The Only Son/There Was a Father

DVD Box Set

2 Discs

$31.96

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer
  • New video interview with film scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns, an appreciation of actor Chishu Ryu by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie, and comments by Ryu on director Yasujiro Ozu
There Was a Father
Cast
Chishu Ryu
Shuhei Horikawa
Shuji Sano
Ryohei (adult)
Haruhiko Tsugawa
Ryohei (child)
Shin Saburi
Yasutaro Kurokawa
Takeshi Sakamoto
Makoto Hirata
Mitsuko Mito
Fumi
Masayoshi Otsuka
Seiichi
Shinichi Himori
Minoru Uchida
Credits
Director
Yasujiro Ozu
Screenplay
Yasujiro Ozu
Screenplay
Tadao Ikeda
Screenplay
Takao Yanai
Cinematography
Yuharu Atsuta
Editing
Yoshiyasu Hamamura
Music
Kyoichi Saiki
Art director
Tatsuo Hamada

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There Was a Father: Duty Calls
There Was a Father: Duty Calls

At the author’s request, Japanese names are given here in their traditional form: surname first. Ozu Yasujiro’s personal feelings about Japanese militarism in the 1930s and 1940s are not on record. Perhaps, like most people around him, he acce…

By Tony Rayns

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The Signature Style of Yasujiro Ozu
The Signature Style of Yasujiro Ozu

With his singular and unwavering style, Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu disregarded the established rules of cinema and created a visual language all his own. Precise compositions, contemplative pacing, low camera angles, and elliptical storytelling a…

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Explore

Yasujiro Ozu

Writer, Director

Yasujiro Ozu has often been called the “most Japanese” of Japan’s great directors. From 1927, the year of his debut for Shochiku studios, to 1962, when, a year before his death at age sixty, he made his final film, Ozu consistently explored the rhythms and tensions of a country trying to reconcile modern and traditional values, especially as played out in relations between the generations. Though he is best known for his sobering 1953 masterpiece Tokyo Story, the apex of his portrayals of the changing Japanese family, Ozu began his career in the thirties, in a more comedic, though still socially astute, mode, with such films as I Was Born, But . . . and Dragnet Girl. He then gradually mastered the domestic drama during the war years and afterward, employing both physical humor, as in Good Morning, and distilled drama, as in Late Spring, Early Summer, and Floating Weeds. Though Ozu was discovered relatively late in the Western world, his trademark rigorous style—static shots, often from the vantage point of someone sitting low on a tatami mat; patient pacing; moments of transcendence as represented by the isolated beauty of everyday objects—has been enormously influential among directors seeking a cinema of economy and poetry.