Director: Yasujiro Ozu
Year Released: 1931
A salaryman who comes to the aid of a fired colleague (because the colleague sold insurance policies to people who died immediately after buying the policies in the first place) gets himself fired, so he has to go out and look for a job - along the way, he reunites with an old instructor who's starting a small eatery. It's a simple and noble portrait of a basic hardship endured in life most people can empathize with - being unable to financially support one's family - and the struggles one must carry on before success returns (the salaryman ends up an English teacher for girls ... it's a job, but yikes). This is a theme Ozu would explore in other films in other ways, and the inherent dreariness is off-set by the light tone - comic relief is provided by the main character's son, who really, really wants a frickin' bike.