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Walk Cheerfully

Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 7:30 p.m., Dryden Theatre

(Hogaraka ni ayune, Yasujiro Ozu, Japan 1930, 95 min., 35mm, Japanese Intertitles w/English subtitles)

Director Yasujiro Ozu is usually known for his pensive and serious tones. But prior to those staid dramas of the 1940s and ‘50s, Ozu made films inspired by the imported cinema he grew up with. This fast-paced American comedy-style story about a gangster who decides to mend his ways after falling in love with a virtuous woman demonstrates his passion for Harold Lloyd and Ernst Lubitsch. In the director’s own words, this is the story of “a delinquent who goes straight.” His name is Kenji the Knife (Minoru Takada) and he casts off his spurs only for the love of a good woman, Yasue (Hiroko Kawasaki). He needs a good reason to walk the line because Walk Cheerfully depicts the life of a hoodlum as mostly jovial. Walk Cheerfully provides a look into the minimalist master's work before he shirked the conventions of fading, close-ups, and panning.