When the patriarch of the Toda family suddenly dies, his widow discovers that he has left her with nothing but debt and married children who are unwilling to support her--except for her most thoughtful son, just returned from China.
Two young brothers become the leaders of a gang of kids in their neighborhood. Their father is an office clerk who tries for advancement by playing up his boss. When the boys visit the boss... See full summary »
In 1923, in the province of Shinshu, the widow and simple worker of a silk factory Tsune Nonomiya (O-Tsune) decides to send her only son to Tokyo for having a better education. Thirteen ... See full summary »
An affluent medical professor, Komiya, and his bossy wife, Tokio, are to look after Setsuko, their high-spirited niece from Osaka. Setsuko is a liberated woman who does what she wants, ... See full summary »
Ryoichi and Chikako are brother and sister. They live together. Chikako works during the day in a office and at night she prostitutes herself to fund her brother studies in univesity. ... 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
Uncle? Where is Uncle?
You mean Father?
He went on the road again. Don't try to stop him. Just be a great man. That's all he wants. Since you were born, he's been coming here with that one hope in mind.
[Shinkichi and Otoki cry. Shot of the daruma doll]
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Ozu remade this movie 25 years later. I saw the remake first, and it is a sumptuous masterpiece. I had wondered why Ozu had chosen to remake, so I looked forward to seeing the original, though with some trepidation. The original is a lovely film, but it is no match for the remake.
Ozu is a director of assurance and confidence, coaxing from his actors exactly what he wants. ASOFW is a simple and fairly straightforward tale of a dissolute man who leads a troupe around Japan at a time when life was hard. He puts himself in the, for Japanese men, highly shameful position of accepting the hospitality of his old flame, partly to spend time with his son, whose paternity has been kept secret by common consent.
It is difficult for me to consider A Story Of Floating Weeds on its own merits, and I will not even attempt to do so. The remake flows smoothly and looks simply glorious. ASOFW seems to have been sketched in comparison. And some of the apparent 'jumps' do not quite make sense. Whereas the leader's decision to dissolve the troupe makes clear sense in the remake, it appears whimsical at best in ASOFW.
In short, if you have the choice, watch ASOFW first, then prepare to be blown away by the glory of the remake.
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