Wakamonoyo Naze Nakuka (Youth, Why Do You Cry?). 1930. Japan. Directed by Kiyohiko Ushihara. Screenplay by Tokusaburo Murakami. With Denmei Suzuki, Kinuyo Tanaka, Tokihiko Okada. 35mm. Silent. In Japanese; English subtitles. 193 min.
Featuring an all-star Shochiku cast, including the legendary Kinuyo Tanaka, Youth, Why Do You Cry? represents the high-water mark of Kiyohiko Ushihara’s silent period, packing its fast-paced plot, which involves the sudden intrusion of a “modern girl” into a widower’s family home, into a truly breezy three hours. A specialist of coming-of-age stories, Ushihara would leave Shochiku Kamata studios to learn more about a revolutionary new development in sound film, known as the “talkies,” in France, Great Britain, and the United States. Nobuhiko Obayashi (House) considered the film a masterpiece, observing that “even though it’s a three-hour-long silent film, I was moved into thinking that I had just watched a musical work of art.” 35mm print from National Film Archive of Japan; courtesy Shochiku