There’s been an epic find for serious film buffs this week. A nearly-finished 1929 film called “Tokkan Kozo,” or “A Straightforward Boy,” by the hugely-influential Japanese filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu has been uncovered. A representative of the Toy Film Museum in Kyoto and professor at the Osaka University of Arts, Yoneo Ota, announced the news at a September 6th conference.
“A Straightforward Boy” was gifted along with a collection of other films to the Toy Film Museum from the estate of a film fan. The found comedy is a shorter version of the 38 minute original movie, which remains lost, like many Japanese films shot before WWII. The museum is working to restore the film before it is screened later at the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival.
“A Straightforward Boy” depicts an abducted young boy who turns out too troublesome for his captor. The boy is played by Japanese child actor Tomio Aoki, who also stars in Ozu’s 1932 “I Was Born, But…” (“Umarete wa Mitakeredo”).
Ozu, who died in 1963, began his work in short comedies before transitioning into more dramatic films. He was a prolific artist known best for films like “Late Spring,” “An Autumn Afternoon,” and “Floating Weeds.” His 1953 film “Tokyo Story” was voted number 1 on a BFI list of “The 10 Best Films of All Time.”
“A Straightforward Boy” will screen at the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival, which starts October 13th.