Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, director of the 1977 cult oddity Hausu, started out his filmmaking career making experimental short films during the 1960s. This particular work, Dandanko, happens to be his first, and his placidly eerie directing style seemed to already be developing. The story involves a mother and what appears to be her son playing games on a set of steps together. It has a very ghostly feel to it, reminiscent of his other work, even while nothing outright sinister is actually happening. Ôbayashi liberally incorporates jump-cuts throughout the film, although the story itself remains moderately linear and coherent. The more chaotic flourishes of Hausu are largely absent, with the exception of one particular scene where the child drops his toy, and the camera — switching to a POV shot of the ball bouncing down the stairs — begins whirling around in a frenzy. Such a detail is a grand reminder of Ôbayashi’s ability to find new and striking ways to surprise and upend conventionality.