Ozu Being Meta

A Meta Moment

A German Film in a Japanese Cinema

Watched a brilliant early film by Yasujiro Ozu last night. The unbelievably sad The Only Son (1936). A bit rough around the edges in terms of tone. It’s not quite as restrained as his later works and has comedic flourishes reminiscent of his silent era. But I think it’s an early masterpiece alongside his earlier I Was Born, But… (1932).

I plan to go into further detail in the future regarding my thoughts on the film, but I couldn’t resist shining a spotlight on a very self-aware – dare i say, meta – moment that occurs almost halfway through the story. The titular character takes his mother to see the movies. At the beginning of the scene he explains that they are watching a talkie (or sound film). This is significant because this is, in fact, Ozu’s first talkie.

This is the only example I have witnessed of an Ozu film calling attention to itself.