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Film / Being Two Isn't Easy

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Being Two Isn't Easy (私は二歳, Watashi wa nisai) is a 1962 film from Japan directed by Kon Ichikawa.

It is a small-scale domestic comedy about the lives of little baby Taro, his father Goro, and his mother Chiyo, mostly concerning their lives from Taro's first to his second birthday. There is no real story, just a series of scenes depicting family life: Chiyo irritated that Goro doesn't pitch in enough with the housework, Goro missing their former freedom to go out whenever they wanted, Goro's controlling mother irritating her daughter-in-law. We also hear the voice of Taro in narration, musing on the peculiarities of his parents and giving a toddler's perspective on life.


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Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: A child in the neighborhood (not Taro), is nearly killed when a rusted old second-story porch railing gives way. The child plunges off the porch, only to be caught by a milkman.
  • As You Know: The movie establishes that Chiyo is visiting her older sister by having her say "How long has it been, big sister?"
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Goro starts puffing on his cigarette in a rather panicky manner after an argument over having another baby.
  • Imagine Spot: Little Taro imagines himself clambering over the gate that Goro put up to keep Taro in the living room.
  • Impairment Shot: A rather unusual use of this trope as Taro's birth and infancy are represented as blurry POV shots from his perspective.
  • Inner Monologue: Taro's thoughts are represented in voiceover like in Look Who's Talking, but not for sardonic jokes like in that movie, but instead to present what a baby might actually be thinking. (He doesn't understand why his dad doesn't just work at home like his mom does.)
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  • The Ken Burns Effect: Used once, when the camera zooms in a woodcut illustration of a child walking from its mother to its father.
  • Knitting Pregnancy Announcement: Subverted. One of the conflicts between the parents has been about whether or not to have another baby, with Chiyo wanting one and Goro not. Near the end when Chiyo brings it up again, Goro says he's OK with it—then he notices her knitting something. He excitedly asks her if she's going to have another baby. She says of course not, she's knitting something for Taro.
  • Medium Blending: Little Taro imagines the crescent moon to be a "banana moon." After he says this the film goes from live-action to a short cartoon in which the moon actually does turn into a banana, and then a ship, sailing on the waves.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Goro's mother, who constantly second-guesses and defies all of Chiyo's parenting decisions, much to Chiyo's growing irritation. Mother- and daughter-in-law finally bond when they both get to angrily berate Goro for not paying attention to Taro, which nearly causes Taro's death when he gets into a plastic bag while the women are out shopping.
  • Sky Face: Taro likes to look at the moon. Near the end of the movie, after his grandma dies, he looks up and sees her face in the moon.
  • Slice of Life: A rather quiet movie about new parents trying to find their way.
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