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Late Ozu (Eclipse Collection) (1956-1960)

Cast: Nobuo Nakamura, Kamatari Fujiwara, Chishu Ryu, more...
Director: Yasujiro Ozu, Yasujiro Ozu, Yasujiro Ozu
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Japan
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Early Spring (Eclipse Collection) (1956)
Like most of director Yasujiro Ozu's work, Early Spring is a deceptively simple family drama: a middle-aged office worker, bored with dreary routines of his job and his marriage, succumbs to a brief fling with the office flirt. His wife inevitably discovers his infidelity, but when he accepts a transfer to the country, she follows him to start their life anew. Ozu's depiction of marital difficulties is hardly depressing. Instead he employs his signature warmth, sensitivity, and humor to create a touching, thoughtful film. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Equinox Flower (Eclipse Collection) (1958)
Equinox Flower (Higanbana) is one of the most lighthearted of Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu's "home dramas." Motivating the plot is a young girl's impulsive decision to marry. The girl's father had always expected that his daughter would first ask his permission to be wed, and indeed wait until he'd chosen her husband for her. After all, it is not only family tradition, but a cultural "must". But this is the 1950s, and the girl proceeds with her plans on her own volition. Dad's anger and disappointment over not having been consulted is played out in long, uninterrupted takes, allowing actor Shin Saburi to run the emotional gamut from comic discomfiture to moving pathos. As in most of his best films, director Ozu also collaborated on the script of Equinox Flower. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Late Autumn (Eclipse Collection) (1960)
Director Yasujiro Ozu (1903-63) was famous for dramas which focused tightly on the character of family members and friends making sacrifices for one another's happiness. In Akibiyori, a still-beautiful widow has a daughter who is sufficiently past the favored age for marriage to be in danger of becoming an old maid according to the norms of Japanese culture. Three mature men, friends of the family, get together to discuss the widow and her problem daughter. Despite the fact that they each would like to marry the mother, they agree that one of them should make the sacrifice of marrying the daughter. They discuss their marriage idea with the mother, not the daughter (as is customary). Somehow, the girl hears of it, and is infuriated. She has said all along that though she wants to get married someday, she wants to remain single for some time longer. Now she is angry enough to threaten to accept the family friend's suit simply out of spite. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

The End of Summer (Eclipse Collection) (1956)
The Kohayakawa family is thrown into distress when childlike father Manbei takes up with his old mistress, in one of Ozus most deftly modulated blendings of comedy and tragedy.

Tokyo Twilight (Eclipse Collection) (1957)
One of Ozus most piercing portraits of family strife, Tokyo Twilight follows the parallel paths of two sisters contending with an absent mother, unwanted pregnancy, and marital discord.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Early Spring (Eclipse Collection) (1956)
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7.36 (11 votes)
Equinox Flower (Eclipse Collection) (1958)
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7.00 (8 votes)
Late Autumn (Eclipse Collection) (1960)
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7.88 (8 votes)
The End of Summer (Eclipse Collection) (1956)
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8.00 (7 votes)
Tokyo Twilight (Eclipse Collection) (1957)
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8.50 (6 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Pacing by liversounds February 15, 2008 - 7:37 AM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
After ten minutes I was getting extremely bored: fifties-era drama, fifties-era dialogue, etc. Something not quite "real". For some reason, I kept going, and soon became enamored of the PACE of the movie...

Which is to say: looking back, the movie/story was not riveting (and really only mildly interesting), but something about the timing, about the patience, and about the persistence, made this movie really GOOD.

I have now watched another Ozu, and realize that the pace is a function (in part) of a vision, depicted by the camera--which is almost always completely still.

small correction by JKelly December 18, 2007 - 6:48 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
The three older men do not actually propose to have one of them marry the daughter, as stated in the description. Two of them are married, and the third is considered for a proposal to the mother, so that the daughter can feel free to marry. She has apparently passed up opportunities for marriage, preferring to remain at her mother's side. This is not unlike some storylines where you see difficulties arise from a younger sister preceding an elder sister in taking vows. The turmoil in the otherwise peaceful and loving mother-daughter relationship arises from the fact that the man under consideration for the mother is an old friend of the father's. The daughter is repulsed at the thought of her mother putting shame on the memory of her father. This is a very sweet movie. Note the camera angle, about table height, and the sustained practice of having characters addressing the camera as if you are taking the place of the person being addressed. Really, really delightful. Gentle. Note also the beautiful interiors. An exquisite, if limited, view of late 1950s Japan. And a welcome relief if like me you enjoy Japanese film and have watched too many samurai flicks of late. I look forward to looking into the other films by this director, of whom I was previously unaware.

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