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Ozu - The Gangster Films: RRP 29.99
Ozu, Yasujiro; Release date 18 Mar 2013
The latest volume in the BFI's ongoing releases of the works of Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story) focuses on his crime films. Ozu honed his craft in the early 1930s, a time when young Japanese directors were experimenting with cinematic conventions. This 2-disc set features three gangster-genre films in which Ozu mixes a Hollywood-infused dynamism with elements of his later style.
DISC ONE : WALK CHEERFULLY (Hogaraka ni ayume)
Kenji 'the Knife' Koyama, leader of a gang of hooligans, falls for the virtuous Yasue. Will he go straight to win her heart or carry on his life of petty crime? Reminiscent of Sternberg's Underworld with its expressionist lighting, Walk Cheerfully combines international cinematic influences with Ozu's own comic touches.
Japan | 1930 | black and white | silent with English subtitles | DVD9 | 92 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
DISC TWO : THAT NIGHT'S WIFE (Sono yo no tsuma)
Young father Shuji turns to crime to pay his daughters medical bills. Enter Detective Kagawa for a tense nighttime stand-off with Shujis wife, Mayumi. That Night's Wife demonstrates Ozu's masterly handling of drama as the film reaches its emotional climax.
DRAGNET GIRL (Hijosen no onna)
By day sweet-faced Tokiko (played by Tanaka Kinuyo [Equinox Flower]) is an ordinary typist but come nightfall she's a fun-loving gangster's moll. When her boyfriend strays, Tokiko is forced to reassess her life. Hugely popular when it was released, Ozu's Dragnet Girl remains one of his most enduring silent films.
Japan | 1930 + 1933 | black and white | silent with English subtitles | DVD9 | 63 minutes + 96 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Extras* A Straightforward Boy (1929, 13 mins): a kidnapped boy gets the better of the baddies in this surviving fragment of the film, directed by Ozu, which shot its Tomio Aoki, its young star, to fame.
* Ozu: Emotion and Poetry (2012, 10 mins): extract from Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns' 2010 lecture
* Fully illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays