Nagaya shinshiroku (Record of a Tenement Gentleman) (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this classic shomin-geki ("story of middle-class life"), Ozu relates the slightly comic tale of a boy abandoned by his parents in postwar Japan. After his desertion, the little boy is discovered by a "tenement gentleman," who, in a gesture of kindness, decides to bring the boy back home with him. His kindness stops short of adopting the boy, however, and his roommate refuses to let the boy live in their apartment. Not wanting to forsake the child again, the tenement gentleman gathers the neighbors together and they draw straws to determine who will take care of him. The shortest straw belongs to a very unwilling middle-aged woman who lives alone and has little desire to take in an orphan. Nevertheless, her neighbors prevail upon her and the boy becomes her responsibility. After a series of misadventures, mostly involving the boy's bedwetting, a close relationship develops between the two and the woman comes to love him. Just as their bond solidifies, the boy's father returns and the unlikely adoptive pair are forced to part. At the film's end, the woman, moved by her experience with the young boy, opens a center for war orphans. ~ Brian Whitener, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
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Criterion Collection


Critic Reviews for Nagaya shinshiroku (Record of a Tenement Gentleman)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

[The film] may be slow-moving by Hollywood standards, but Record of a Tenement Gentleman rewards patience with rich sentiment that's never mawkish.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

This is Ozu in optimistic mood, which is not to say that loss and resignation don't figure in large part (no film-maker ever had a surer grasp of the melancholy of everyday things), just that here the generosity of spirit seems irresistible.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Curtain after curtain is lifted as this formidable film exposes a Japan unknown to most.

Full Review… | May 21, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A warm comedy of life in postwar Japan, warm in the way only Yasujiro Ozu's cold and formal style can be.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Cleverly using camera angles to create a sense of place and parallel motifs to unify the action, Ozu reveals his directorial genius, which is confirmed by his light handling of his splendid ensemble cast.

Full Review… | August 12, 2014
Radio Times

Thanks to Ozu's sympathetic direction, his deep understanding of human behavior, and the surprising amount of comedy, it's both moving and very funny.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Nagaya shinshiroku (Record of a Tenement Gentleman)

Very touching, very genuine, and funny as well. Chuoko Iida has a great face and gives a winning performance as a cranky widow who reluctantly has motherhood thrust upon her. Except for a brief heavy-handed speech at the end (a call for people to be more kind-hearted with each other) and a child actor who doesn't cry very convincingly, I really enjoyed it.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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