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Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version) VCD

Kasatomi Shu (Actor) | Saito Tatsudo (Actor) | Ozu Yasujiro (Director)
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Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) spent most of his directorial career exploring the changing familial relationships in post-World War II Japan, and his Tokyo Story (1953) has even become one of the most important titles in Japanese cinema. Days Of Youth (1929) is among the very few films by Ozu that is not about his signature theme, but instead an entertaining light comedy. However, this early title of his actually foreshadows his highly stylized way of shooting, which has impressed generations of cinema-goers in Japan and abroad. The story follows two teenagers falling in love with the same girl. They go skiing with her and try to win her heart, but romance turns out to become a lesson about friendship and love...
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Technical Information

Product Title: Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version) 年輕的日子 (香港版) 年轻的日子 (香港版) Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version) Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Kasatomi Shu (Actor) | Saito Tatsudo (Actor) 笠智眾 (Actor) | 齋藤達雄 (Actor) 笠智众 (Actor) | Saito Tatsudo (Actor) 笠智衆 (Actor) | Saito Tatsudo (Actor) Kasatomi Shu (Actor) | Saito Tatsudo (Actor)
Director: Ozu Yasujiro 小津安二郎 小津安二郎 小津安二郎 Ozu Yasujiro
Release Date: 2006-11-10
Language: Original Soundtrack
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: Japan
Disc Format(s): VCD
Duration: 103 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Other Information: 2VCDs
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004567044

Product Information

導演:小津安二郎
Director: Ozu Yasujiro

本片是小津的第八部作品,是他現存最早期的作品,亦是他的首部劇情長,但他的強烈個人風格已經逐漸成形。本片牛法輕鬆自然,是一套變化多端的青春喜劇。兩位同窗好友愛上了同一位女孩,令他們的關係頓時由好友變成情敵,並在校園內鬧出連串笑話。二人為了親近自己的心上人,同時跟隨她來到雪地渡假,彼此暗中你爭我奪,可是最後卻好夢成空。 兩位好友一同面對挫敗,令他們的人生態度有所改變,末段在火車上一幕,盡顯日後大師級風範。

This is Ozu's eighth film, and also his earliest surviving work. His meticulous style is already foreshadowed in this comic early masterpiece. Students Watanabe and Yamamoto are best friends at school, but they fall for the same girl at the same time. The two boys begin to turn against each other. During the holidays, they follow the girl to the ski slopes, where the two students try to impress the girl as best they can. The playful and happy mood and the symmetrical structure of the film are Ozu's way of paying tribute to the classical Hollywood comedy, especially the best of Lubitsch.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version)"

November 10, 2006

This professional review refers to Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version)
For a director who became known as the most Japanese of film-makers, Ozu's early films reflect his western influences extensively. Films like Hen in the Wind and There was a Father seem very like Japanese versions of neo-realism, but his silent films owe even more to the west. Days of Youth is a simple comedy in the mode of early Hollywood where plot, characterisation, and structure are merely in the service of entertainment. In fact, it resembles a student comedy much like a less crude Japanese version of the cack that has followed in the slipstream of American Pie.

The ninth film to be directed by Ozu is a light comedy with none of the earnest reflections on modern Japanese life which mark the director's later films or the passionate moralising which are the hallmark of his films from the 1930s. It is a basic entertainment which may owe something to the director's own experience as a somewhat slack student, and in the character of Yamamoto's friend, it has a role not unlike the shy Ozu himself. The comedy is broad and largely about one-upmanship and pratfalls, and the drama is merely a vehicle for the slapstick to be delivered. It would be tempting to read the two male leads as differing male archetypes but this would probably be looking for too much craft in what is basically a naive piece from a director still working out how to make pictures. The story itself centres on Yamamoto, a young student, who hits upon the idea of renting his room out as a way to meet young women. After a number of unattractive false, and male, starts, he succeeds in meeting a young woman who he puts his far from subtle moves on. The error in his plan is that he must find himself somewhere else to live and moves in with a fellow student, who unknown to him has the same feelings for the young woman. Thus begins a tale of male competition with the two men trying to win the woman over with their respective overtures. Once their exams are finished they apply themselves in earnest to their romantic pursuit on the ski slopes.

Days of Youth is full of love for the films of silent Hollywood. Yamamoto's friend bears more than a slight resemblance to Harold Lloyd and is similarly set against a more worldly man in Yamamoto as Lloyd often was in his films. The two students even have a poster of the 1927 film Seventh Heaven up on their room wall, but the story itself of outright male competition for the attentions of a young woman is the most American thing in the film. To make this competition interesting, Ozu has the contrast of the nerdish friend and the very gauche Yamamoto. Both characters lack the depth of later Ozu roles and are merely inventions servicing the script. Ozu's work on later scripts involved a process where he and collaborator Kogo Noda would start with familiar characters and place them into common social situations - the roles would be fully rounded and understandable and not simply servicing melodrama or plot. Ozu's later movies would not have dared to be so judgmental on his characters as the stereotypes that he rolls out here; the female lead here is simply asked to look embarrassed or shy and to put up with all manner of nonsense that the later stronger Ozu women would not have countenanced.

In technique terms, the film is shot a world away from what became Ozu's trademarks. The basic setup of a camera at the eye level of a sitting person is not used, nor is the extensive straight shots of characters talking directly to camera. There are very few set up shots to establish the milieu of scenes or to emphasise the home, and there is even extensive outside shooting. Technically, I imagine making a film which has most of it's third act outside in the snow must have been a headache in 1929 but the efforts to use the slapstick of the location are rather well done. There are some elements of what would become common in Ozu's films with the men's traditional dance in the ski lodge, men drowning their sorrows in alcohol, and the schoolmaster figure. These scenes are evidence of how he would later revisit ideas not for their dramatic interest but for their cultural meaning - the schoolmaster appears again in There Was a Father, an almost autobiographical film, the traditions and ceremonies of life would almost become the whole of his later films, and his male leads would constantly seek solace in drink (like Ozu himself).

Days of Youth does raise some mild smiles and I like the slightly disappointed ending. It is well delivered physical comedy with some minor efforts at capturing the urban lives of students (we even get some pans over the Tokyo skyline where busy factories are contrasted with the sedentary life of the students). It is far from exceptional and gives little hint of what Ozu would start to achieve with his films in the next decade, yet it is intriguing for its evidence of a young man learning his craft and paying his dues.

Video
In recent years Panorama has delivered many of Ozu's films to DVD on region three with English options. The discs have largely been inexpensive single layer affairs with far from brilliant subtitles or transfers. This is the earliest of his films they have released so far and the age of the print is reflected in the presentation. The print is very, very worn with extensive scuffing, blurring, and associated damage that 77 year old films tend to have; the poorest scenes are in the train carriage. The transfer is also poor with moments of excessive combing, macro blocking and contrast levels which don't handle variation well between different levels of black. The transfer is quite sharp though. Still films this old don't usually exist let alone find a life on DVD, and this completely silent film is only available elsewhere in a Japanese box set without English subtitles.

Subtitles
The English subtitles are for the title cards that occur regularly and the standard of English on them is excellent. The menu is dual language as well.

Extras
The extras on this single layer disc amount to a filmography and biography available in English and Chinese. The biography is rather well written and the English translation is clear and grammatical; parts of it are reproduced in the handbill which comes as an insert to the DVD case.

Overall
It needs to be remembered that many of the great films of Japanese masters like Mizoguchi, Naruse and Sadao Yamanaka may never see the light of day on DVD so the ongoing release of even a very minor Ozu is a cause for joy. Days of Youth is a film which shows how much Ozu loved the films of Hollywood and also how much he had still to learn to become the master that he was. This is the only English friendly version out there and despite the aged print and cheap transfer, this is essential for any fans of Ozu as it represents the earliest of his films available on DVD.

by John White - DVD Times

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


February 25, 2008

This customer review refers to Days Of Youth (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Early Ozu comedy Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10
If one didn't know that "Days of Youth" was an Ozu Yasujiro movie, just about the only clue one would have about the identity of the film's auteur is Ozu's stylistic quirk of showing smokestacks. The film bears more of a resemblance to Harold Lloyd's movies than to Ozu's later work.

The film is about two college friends, one brazen and wild, the other earnest and cautious, who fall in love with the same young woman. After they complete their exams, they go on a skiing trip knowing that the young woman will be at the resort. The wild student continually outmaneuvers the cautious one in his attempts to woo the girl. Will he win the girl's heart?

The film's early scenes are comic and sprightly. However, once the action moves to the ski resort, the film bogs down and the wild student's behavior seems downright rude and boorish. Ozu manages to win back the viewer's good feelings with a strong ending.

This silent film is truly silent, as it lacks any musical accompaniment. As I watched it, I listened to a CD of Scott Joplin rags, which seemed a good fit.

"Days of Youth" has its amusing moments, but simply overstays its welcome. Ozu could have produced a much tighter and more entertaining work by shortening the film by 15 or 20 minutes. I can recommend this film only as an interesting historical artifact of Ozu's early career.
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