Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth?

Yasujiro Ozu released this 1932 silent feature only four months after his masterpiece I Was Born, But . . . , and like the earlier film it begins as a comedy before its treatment of conformity and class difference grows tragic. A rich goof-off joins his less privileged schoolmates in cheating on exams; called home after his father dies, he takes over the family business, hires his friends, and eventually feels both devastated and angry when one of them breaks off his engagement in order to keep his job. Stylistically as well as thematically bold—one whole sequence focuses on the characters' hands—this isn't an unqualified success, but it packs a wallop. 86 min.

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