Frustrated that their father (Ryu) won't buy them a television set, school-age brothers Minoru (Shidara) and little Isamu (Shimazu) stage a protest, they stop talking and that means to everyone — neighbors, teachers and even their favorite aunt. Unfortunately for their mother, Mrs. Hayashi (Miyaki), the neighbors become convinced she's told her children to snub them over a petty grudge involving unpaid dues to a local women's club.
A light-hearted remake of Ozu's early silent feature "I Was Born, But...", this situational comedy set at the dawn of the TV age in 1950s Japan warmly mocks conversational civility and shifting attitudes toward consumerism and Western culture in the postwar era. Ozu's gift, as always, is his keen feeling for the interior lives of his characters — in this case, children. One running gag involving the boys' ingestion of "pumice powder" to enhance their flatulence is a scenario culled straight from universal experience. Ozu's fabulous ensemble cast includes regulars Ryu, Miyaki, and the wonderfully sour Haruko Sugimura, playing a snitty neighbor. This one's a treat morning, noon, or night.