Another great, or at least very good, Yasujiro Ozu film, Late Spring (1949) concerns a young Japanese woman, Noriko (Setsuko Hara), whose 56-year-old father (Chisu Ryu) wants her to marry despite the daughter’s insistence that she is happy simply to live with and take care of the middle-aged gent. Indeed, it is a matter not only of happiness but also of obligation—in Noriko’s eyes, not the eyes of others. Sadly, Noriko feels despondent over the upcoming matrimony she has agreed to.
This Ozu (director-scenarist)-Kogo Noda (scenarist) adaptation of a novel is excellent on the theme of painful transitions, and as open-eyed about loneliness as other Ozu films. There are longueurs here and rather too much music, but certainly the film is far more interesting than the boring Noh play several of the characters serenely watch. Hara is superlative and Ozu’s style a gentle wonder ready to undergo a nice extension for such later movies as Tokyo Story.
(In Japanese with English subtitles)
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