In post-war Japan, a man brings a lost boy to his tenement. No one wants to take the child for even one night; finally, a sour widow, Tané, does. The next day, complaining, she takes the ... See full summary »
Setsuko is unhappily to Mimura, an engineer with no job and a bad drinking habit. She had always been in love with Hiroshi but both of them failed to propose when Hiroshi left for France a ... See full summary »
Okada and Kato, students at 'W' [i.e. Waseda] University, in Tokyo, live in the same lodgings. One morning, Kato receives a tailor's bill. Okada has seen the letter arrive, so Kato tells ... See full summary »
Kenji is a small thief who likes drinking and fighting. When he falls in love with sweet and simple Yazue, and she finds out what kind of guy he really is, she leaves him 'until he becomes ... See full summary »
A troupe of actors comes to town, short on funds and bedeviled by bad weather, so they can't put on shows. Kihachi is the troupe's leader. He steals off every day to visit Otsune (an ex-lover) and their son, Shinkichi, who believes his father is a long-dead civil servant. Kihachi has been paying Shinkichi's tuition, and he's now at university. Kihachi's lover, Otaka, the troupe's lead actress, learns Kihachi's secret and plots to ruin Shinkichi and humiliate Kihachi: she offers money to Otoki, the troupe's ingénue, to seduce Shinkichi. Soon the boy is head over heels, and Otoki finds herself with feelings for him. Can this end well or is tragedy at hand? Written by
My troupe's finally disbanded. No word from Shinkichi yet? Like father, like son. So fast with the girls. I'm finished this time.
I'll fix you a drink.
No sake for me.
Then you won't travel anymore? You can stay as long as you like. Shinkichi is old enough to know by now. He'll understand. He'll back sometime or toher. Let's live together like a family.
It isn't good to be alone all the time. Let's have a drink.
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I was able to see The Story of Floating Weeds for the first time recently, thanks to the Criterion Collection's DVD.
I was led to it when I came across Roger Ebert's list of his ten favorite films (written some time ago).
In his notes, Ebert claims Ozu shows us a "different cinematic language" but I find that kind of talk so much blather. Ozu uses his shots effectively to allow the actors to communicate the emotions being portrayed, especially necessary in this silent film.
A third rate company of traveling actors returns to a town after four years. The leader of the troupe had abandoned his lady in this town years before in order to tour with his company. He has fathered a son by the woman, whom he visits whenever he can, but his paternity is kept secret from his son.
What follows is the exposure of the secret and the effect it has on the lives of everyone involved, and some innocent bystanders as well.
The camera is almost always objective, the acting style is somewhat less melodramatic than in American silent films. There are excellent performances by all.
No time period is given for the story, but I have to assume it is earlier than the year the film was made (1934) because there are no automobiles, no radios, no telephones.
The enjoyment of Floating Weeds lies in the story itself and the ability of the director to tell it compellingly. If you demand car chases or food fights, this is not for you.
The Criterion DVD allows you to watch with or without the specially commissioned score. For first viewing, I recommend without.
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