Yasujirô Ozu – Tôkyô boshokuAKA Tokyo Twilight (1957)

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Synopsis:

Two sisters live with their father. The younger sister is embroiled in an affair and becomes pregnant. The elder sister has run away from her husband and returned with her child to her parent’s home. Both sisters are astonished when their mother, long thought dead, turns up alive. The sisters are even more stunned when they learn what their mother’s life has been. Continue reading

Yasujiro Ozu – Ohayô aka Good Morning (1959)

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Quote:

“Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu. He is the quietest and gentlest of directors, the most humanistic, the most serene.” — Roger Ebert

It took long enough, but I sampled my first Yasujiro Ozu film, Good Morning (Ohayo), and will soon indulge myself with as many of his works as I can locate. At one time, his films were thought to be “too Japanese” and weren’t available in the West, but if Good Morning is any indication of his craft and appeal, Ozu deserves a much wider audience. It’s a film that works at multiple levels, and only artistic geniuses like Shakespeare have been able to pull off such a universal work that works with both down to earth people and with the upper levels of critical audiences equally. Continue reading

Yasujiro Ozu – Banshun aka Late Spring (1949)

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Plot from allmovie by Hal Erickson

Veteran Japanese writer/director Yasujiro Ozu’s second postwar production was 1949’s Late Spring or Banshun. Chisu Ryu plays another of Ozu’s realistic middle-class types, this time a widower with a marriageable daughter. Not wishing to see the girl resign herself to spinsterhood, Ryu pretends that he himself is about to be married. The game plan is to convince the daughter that they’ll be no room for her at home, thus forcing her to seek comfort and joy elsewhere. What makes this homey little domestic episode work is the rapport between Chisu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, who plays the daughter. Late Spring is no facile Hollywood farce; we like these people, believe in them, and wish them the best. Continue reading

Yasujirô Ozu – Wasei kenka tomodachi (1929)

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A more than pleasant, funny and touching short(ened) burlesque comedy of young Y. Ozu.
Two friends provide shelter to an orphan girl they have accidentally knocked down. Continue reading

Yasujiro Ozu – Higanbana AKA Equinox Flower (1958)

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Quote:

The first color feature film from Yasujiro Ozu, Equinox Flower is a spare, evocative, and compassionate portrait of aging, transition, and change. The title of the film refers to a red amaryllis flower that blooms near the autumnal equinox, and red imagery pervade the film: the brick train station building, the carpeting of the wedding banquet, Yukiko’s obi, the tea kettle at the Hirayama home. Similar to Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata and Andre Techine’s Ma Saison Preferee, the season serves as a reflection of Hirayama’s generation, attempting to reconcile with the profound cultural and social changes of postwar Japan. The film opens to the image of the train station and cuts to a shot of the hallway of the wedding reception. It is a reminder of Hirayama’s own transitional passage – an elegy for the quickly vanishing traditions of an irretrievable past, and a celebration of renewed hope and promise. Continue reading

Yasujiro Ozu – Kohayagawa-ke no aki AKA The End of Summer (1961)

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Quote:
“With “The End of Summer”, Ozu creates a picture about an entire family, enriching the several strands of his story with many anecdotes. The film is unusually rich in character vignettes: at the same time it is one of the director’s bleakest films. The Japanese title “Kohayagawa-ke no Aki” literally translates as The Autumn Of The Kohayagawa Family. Donald Richie said of the film, “It is perhaps the only Ozu picture in which there is no spiritual survivor. One of Ozu’s most beautiful films, it is also one of his most disturbing.” Continue reading