Growing Pain___I was born but…生れてはみたけれど / by HUA SHANG

For most of Ozu’s I was born But…, we see through the eyes of two boys. We, as viewers, soon come to acknowledge the existence of two worlds: the world of the children and the world of the adults. Both worlds have hierarchies. In the children’s world, the power play seems to be more violent and brutal, yet with higher mobility. As long as you are a good fighter or have more sparrow eggs, you can get your way in this world. For adults, the power game is certainly more civilized. However, it is also less socially mobile or less “fair”.  It is a system beyond the control of the individual. People are often found stuck in their positions, like the truck in the opening scene, for better or for worse. For the first part of film, the children’s world rarely intersects with the adults’. The clash of the two worlds happens at the film screening. And the father is not just a father but also one of the employees of the boss, while the sons are not just sons but also the “boss” of a group of children. The illusion of the “powerful” father figure in two brothers’ heads is dashed by the cold reality. A mix of denial, humiliation, confusion, and anguish filled two boys, especially the elder son’s heart. They initiate a protest, challenging the authority of their father as well as questioning the rules of the adults’ world.  The protest eventually ends with a reconciliation. However, Ozu still leaves us with some hope for the future of these boys by offering a warm “open ending”.