Days of Youth

Days of Youth ★★★

I am once again officially done, but not done with Ozu—still have to watch that Lion Dance short. Been holding off on this for 8 months nearly (holy fuck), not for any reason. Not even as some ceremonious return to Ozu’s filmography, though I am probably due for a few rewatches. And I am not gonna do what I did the last time I watched an Ozu: write an incredibly personal essay or rant or whatever I could call it. Can’t do that, don’t wanna do that. Admittedly (obviously) that was written in a volatile/vulnerable mental state. Maybe this was a ceremonious watch despite picking it on a whim from my unwatched downloads. My Ozu marathon was by all means, ceremonious if, for the most part, the one of his films a week was a small, personal ceremony. To condense everything I just said, the importance of Ozu’s films as comfort cinema cannot be overstated for me.

What is so odd going back to the start—the earliest existing start—for Ozu is to see some of the film’s content be oppositional to what Ozu would eventually become. Unsure of where to mark that eventually, I am just going to say post-war for the sake of popularity. Days of Youth has extended skiing scenes and I remember another silent that had extended scenes at a golf course. Those scenes feel so foreign to late Ozu, they do not exist in them. Instead, there would be a pair of skis heavily present in the mis-en-scène and there would be a conversational piece about skiing that relays familial or marital complications. Imagining something akin to Mariko Okada berating her husband in An Autumn Afternoon over his financial retardation when he buys the golf clubs.

The images shown may vary greatly, sporting events or hobbies would be somewhere in those gaps in time but little of them would be seen on-screen. Ozu’s precise ambiguity is the most significant thing missing in this—the pillow shots. Yet, the start is not devoid of Ozu; the comedy is the same and my uncaringness to it in its silent form also remains, marriage, people in transition, and life moving ahead in its cyclical nature is presented in its humorous, Hollywood influenced foundations. Would Ozu have been a fan of Hollywood’s great auteurs of today, like David O. Russel? I can’t answer that, but I can say that there is no one greater than Ozu at making me have ambivalent emotions to the fleetingness of time.