A film can often feel like a test to see if an audience is convinced by the identity of a character matching their inner arc. The sympathy implored from an audience directed towards what identities do or don’t work in our time and how they correlate to actions (usually around a routine) that we can attach to a sort of noble idea, or the opposite if we want a tragic narrative. With every historical condition, new stable identities appear that we think are right until another subjectivity requires accommodation. But how to assert an identity that must be inevitably left behind? The tragic consequences of pitting together two equally weighted truancies is the major dramatic concern of Yasujiro Ozu’s films. The parents of his films build their identity around an established idea of their culture only to find the world their children inhabit changes what was once established. The children don’t stop this process, nor can they, they do what is necessary to exist in the post-war, modern capitalist age. There are variations of stories: kids that want to leave, or don’t want to leave, or want their parents to leave; want to leave but the parents are stubborn so they run away. Whatever the scenario, the parents have to play the role of letting go despite the suffering it might cause them. Nothing convinces that it is the best thing to do, it’s just the way it is. There’s no blame to be apportioned or any attempt to convince anyone of another way. They just don’t speak the same language. The times change and with it the values or stable universals are impotent. In the new world they can only exist as shadows.

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