Mr. Thank You (Shimizu, 1936)
Mr. Thank You is simply a film about a group of people riding a friendly man’s bus on a trip to Tokyo. The whole film takes place during the trip, and the film is set almost entirely on the bus. While it sounds uninteresting, no doubt, it is more definitely not. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the film is its setting. The scenic ride the group of people take is beautiful. I love how Shimizu lets the camera linger on the passing landscape.
Inside the bus was just as interesting. The quietly shameful mother traveling to Tokyo to sell the daughter into prostitution, the attention-seeking yet harmless wanderer, and even the slightly skeazy salesman were all extremely interesting. The character of Mr. Thank You was also quite interesting, though more for his interactions with the people outside the bus. We meet several people he obviously passes on a regular basis, and even a possible past lover. It’s very interesting, though not surprising, how much more natural he seems to interact with those that can’t afford his services. If the film has a fault it’s that it spends a bit too much time watching random people load and unload from the bus, and the social message does become slightly heavy-handed at times. Regardless, this is a great, poetic, nicely shot film. 8.25/10