Nice job, Flixster. Hitting these Eclipses like its your job. I mean, sure, I would have loved a break while I waited for you to enter this in, but I guess I'll just have to review this movie now. That's probably a good thing because the movie is still fresh on my mind.
This is Ozu's The Little Rascals. We see a lot of the themes from Tokyo Chorus play into this movie (right down to the paddling / face-making), but now we see the entire film from the points of view of children. This one is a little different from Tokyo Chorus however. The main thing is that the wife is significantly less of a b*tch in this one, but the husband is far more wishy-washy.
The theme of this movie is the moment you find out that your parents are fallible. Everyone thinks that their father is the best father on the planet when they're younger and it's always disappointing to find out that your dad is only human. I'm not sure if I ever went through this exact thing, but the story is extremely realistic. You feel extremely bad for these kids, but not to a point where you think an injustice is being done. It's that innocence of youth being stripped away naturally, and it's painful to see. Contrast what they feel about their father from the beginning, through their games, and then onward and I dare you not to feel some sympathy. These are real children. It makes total sense why that older child was brought back for Passing Fancy. He brings a real sense of grounding to the movie that probably couldn't have been there otherwise.
This is a very fast moving movie. I'm really not used to that with Ozu. Ozu usually takes a lot of my attention and seems to drag from time to time (but is always, somehow, stunnign). This is a quick paced look at this family's life. I love the dynamic between all of the members of the family. The mother interacts differently with the husband than she does with the children and each family member has a different relationship that is unique from all of the others. What I can't believe is how bratty kids can get. I mean, I am going to be a teacher, so I suppose that I should be used to temper tandrums, but house destruction? Weird.
Finally, this is actually one of Ozu's funniest. How kids interact, while not necessarily objective or absolute, can be related to and the quest for popularity is a fleeting one. It's when one stops trying that fortune falls on him.