THE CAMERAMAN’S REVENGE (Władysław Starewicz, 1912)

Born in Wilno, Poland, then part of the Russian Empire (and is, today, Vilnius, Lithuania), Władysław Starewicz is one of cinema’s great animators. His animated short “Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora,” from Russia, is a deft demonstration of marital hypocrisy and the double standard.      Two bourgeois beetles, a fat male and a plain-Jane female, have complacently settled […]


Yasujiro Ozu’s first postwar film, Nagaya shinshiroku, is as delightful as his comedy I Was Born, but . . . and twice as profound. Its makeshift family reflects Japan’s shaken institutions, and its setting—the lower-class section of downtown Tokyo—reflects Japan’s postwar economic hardship. What irony that the character who sets the plot into motion, Tashiro, […]

A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS (Yasujiro Ozu, 1934)

One of Yasujiro Ozu’s last silent films is Ukigusa monogatari. “Weeds” refer to an itinerant troupe of stage performers currently lighting in a remote mountain village. The film opens with their “floating” in, and closes with their “floating” out, by train.      The group’s leader is Kihachi Ichikawa. He visits Otsune (Choko Iida, superb), the mother […]