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Flunky, Work Hard!

Posted by martinteller on June 5, 2011

The oldest surviving Mikio Naruse film.  This is very different from the later talkies I’ve seen by him, in fact it’s more akin to Ozu’s I Was Born, But (which it predates by one year).  A short film about a down-on-his-luck insurance salesman trying to provide for his (somewhat unruly) son, it’s a gently comic affair.  The humor is not great, but not bad either, and there’s a certain charm to it.  I’m sure the economic situation was resonant with a Depression-era audience.  Things take a dark turn towards the end, which is rather jarring but sets off some experimental moments that seem ahead of their time.  Even in the earliest parts of the story, there’s a boldness to the editing.  Looking forward to exploring Naruse’s other silents.  Rating: 7


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