The Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Urban Drama  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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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.

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Keywords

boy, orphan, woman, desertion, village, war