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BFI Ozu: The Student Comedies in February

On 20 February 2012, the BFI adds four rare silent comedies by Yasujiro Ozu to its ongoing collection of the Japanese master’s work, which will eventually include all 32 of the surviving films he made for the Shochiku Studio.

The Student Comedies, a handsome 2-disc box set, brings Ozu’s student-themed silent comedies to DVD for the first time, with newly commissioned scores by Ed Hughes, as well as the rare surviving fragments of his 1929 film I Graduated, But …

Disc One:
Days of Youth (Wakaki Hi) (1929)
Ozu’s earliest surviving film follows students Watanabe and Yamamoto as they unknowingly compete for the affections of the same girl.

I Flunked, But … (Rakudai Wa Shita Keredo) (1930)
With exams looming, Takahashi finds a creative way to avoid doing his revision in this roguish comedy reminiscent of Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman.

Disc Two:
The Lady and the Beard (Shukujo To Hige) (1931)
Graduate Okajima finds that his impressive beard, worn in traditional style, makes it impossible to find a decent job or make a good impression. Ozu’s cheerful comedy focuses on the tension between tradition and modernity, a theme he revisited in some of his most profound post-war work.

Where Now are the Dreams of Youth? (Seishun No Yume Ima Izuko) (1932)
Hirano and his friends are happily enjoying a carefree college life, but when tragedy strikes everything changes. Scripted by Ozu’s long-term collaborator Kogo Noda, this film subtly moves from light to dark and questions the durability of friendship.

Features include:

  • 1.33:1 | Silent, Japanese intertitles with English subtitles
  • I Graduated, But … (Yasujiro Ozu, 1929, 11 mins): surviving fragment of Ozu’s early student comedy about a recent graduate struggling to find a job
  • Exclusive, newly-commissioned scores for all films by Ed Hughes, featuring the Camilleri Trio and Richard Casey (Dolby Digital stereo 320kbps)
  • Ozu: Emotion and Poetry (2011, 20 mins): Tony Rayns discusses Ozu’s early work and
    influences
  • 38-page illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays from Asian cinema
    experts Tony Rayns and Alexander Jacoby


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