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Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo (I Was Born, But ) (Children of Tokyo)

Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo (I Was Born, But ) (Children of Tokyo) (1932)



Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 891

My Rating

Movie Info

One of the last great Japanese silent films and one of director Yasujiro Ozu's first masterpieces, this gentle family comedy contrasts the complexities of adulthood with a child's innocence. Two young brothers, who are the unquestioned alpha-males of fellow classmates in their suburban Tokyo neighborhood, are outraged by their father's clownish and subservient behavior at his office. As the film progresses, the children come to accept that their father is not a great man, as they imagined, and

Apr 22, 2008

Janus Films

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (0) | DVD (2)

[I Was Born, But . . .] is a master class -- one of the [Ozu's] earliest -- in the art of distilling emotional intensity from quiet lives.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ozu's movie is also smart at levels almost too subtle to discern, perhaps not so much smart as wise.

June 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those silent black-and-white old movies that makes the subsequent advances in the medium look redundant.

June 25, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching the first hour of I Was Born, But... (unspooling with a bright, new piano score by Donald Sosin) might remind you of a subdued Our Gang skit, and not unpleasantly.

June 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film retains a measure of tempered hope, born not simply from the father's command-cum-wish to his slumbering offspring but also from a final act of youthful compassion that binds Ozu's intensely human characters in glass-half-full solidarity.

June 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Both the gags and the emotional disappointments are anchored in a sure sense of characterisation that remains wholly fresh, and the pace of the whole film is worthy of Buster Keaton at his best.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The humour is sly, warm and playful.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A silent film that starts as a hilarious, warmhearted comedy and ends as a sobering, heartbreaking drama about two young boys who discover that their father is not the great man they imagined him to be.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Expresses the ideal vantage for surveying the joys and banalities of youthful and adult existence

February 19, 2012 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A charming, genial satire that touches on a bitter truth...

August 29, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

A masterpiece, and one of Ozu's three or four greatest works.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

An amusing, well-acted and intelligent slice of social commentary.

June 26, 2010 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

Sociology and history aside, I Was Born, But%u2026 is also a romp and never loses its sense of humor.

May 4, 2008 Full Review Source:

Behind the deft comedy and spirited performances of the two boys is a rather somber engagement with the compromises adults make to the demands of the social order.

May 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

goes beyond the genre by offering subtle social criticism%u2014a first in Japanese cinema

April 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

A delightful silent film about two young brothers whose family moves to a new town.

September 18, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

Charming early Ozu.

March 17, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

This splendid example of a salaryman's film is the first great film of the master's.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo (I Was Born, But ) (Children of Tokyo)

I Was Born, But... is a wonderfully titled and crafted movie of pure simplicity by the master Ozu. As the title suggests, it's about someone facing the fact that they exist, but they aren't going to achieve anything. Two brothers move with their family so their father can be closer to his boss. The boys get into trouble with the local gang of boys, but soon manage to take control. Just as they are enjoying their triumph, they discover that their father plays the clown for his boss. They see this as a betrayal, and lose respect for their father. During the Ozu Retrospective I've seen Ozu handle dialog, sound, color, and everything else. Here was a nice chance to see him use only his sparse black and white visuals. The story was hilarious and moving. The boys really respect their father, and he encourages them to make something of themselves. Once they find out about his antics, they are not amused. We see the importance of honor and respect, even amongst such young children. The family dynamic is well structured, and even without sound I was completely entranced. Seeing the two boys struggle with the local gang was simply charming. It shows them upsetting the order of the group as the new outsiders. It shows that the need to be accepted never truly leaves us, and the barriers between adults and children aren't so thick and impenetrable. The climax is the young boys giving their father permission to suck up to their boss, and realising he does it for them. So gentle, so sweet, and a little bit sad. Pure Ozu.
September 25, 2011

Super Reviewer

ozu's most successful early film is, believe it or not, an 'our gang' inspired silent comedy with a bit more of a social message. subtitled 'an adult's picture book view,' it's child's eye view of adult society makes for an engaging and fun watch. i like the way ozu never idealizes children. these kids are complete brats! loosely remade with sound and color in 1959 as 'ohayō (good morning)'
January 12, 2011
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Yasujiro Ozu, "I was Born, But..." is a thoroughly delightful and charming silent movie about two boys, Keiji(Tomio Aoki) and Chounan(Hideo Sugawara), having to adjust to a new neighborhood after their father(Tatsuo Saito) moves his family to be closer to work. The biggest obstacle being a gang of bullies that compels Chounan to come to his younger brother's rescue at one point. So afraid are they of the bullies that they play hooky from school. But a promise was made by Chounan to get an E in calligraphy for his father and the boys create an elaborate forgery. In the end, the movie makes a subtly effective message about the importance of an education. [/font]
January 2, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Umarete wa mita keredo (DE)
  • I Was Born, But (Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo) (UK)
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