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Early Summer (1951)
"Bakushû" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  2 August 1972 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,310 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 34 critic

A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Noriko Mamiya
...
Koichi Mamiya
Chikage Awashima ...
Aya Tamura
Kuniko Miyake ...
Fumiko Mamiya
Ichirô Sugai ...
Shukichi Mamiya
Chieko Higashiyama ...
Shige Mamiya
Haruko Sugimura ...
Tami Yabe
Kuniko Igawa ...
Takako
Hiroshi Nihon'yanagi ...
Kenkichi Yabe
Shûji Sano ...
Sotaro Satake
Toyo Takahashi ...
Nobu Tamura (as Toyoko Takahashi)
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
Nishiwaki
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tomoka Hasebe
Kazuyo Itô ...
Mitsuko Yabe
Kokuten Kôdô ...
Old Uncle
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Storyline

In postwar Tokyo, this household is loving and serene: older parents, their 28-year-old daughter Noriko, their married son, his devoted wife, and two rascally sons. Their only discontent is Noriko's lack of a husband. Society is changing: she works, she has women friends who tease and argue, her brother sees her independence as impudence, she sees it as normal. When her boss suggests that she marry a 40-year-old bachelor who is his friend, all the members of her family press her to accept. Without seeking their advice, and to their chagrin, Noriko determines her own course of action. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

2 August 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bakushû  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Superb understated and subtle cinematography, beaming and lovely main character, Ozu transforms what might be a moderately interesting peek into a family's life into a rich and delightful film
22 September 2003 | by (Durham, NC (USA)) – See all my reviews

I am writing this minutes after I finished watching this lovely 1951 film on video, "Bakushu" ("Early Summer"). It is my first introduction to the work of Yasujiro Ozu, who directed and co-wrote the film. Ozu (b.1903, d.1963), who directed over 50 films from the 1920s-1960s, is probably most famous for his film "Tokyo Monogatari" ("Tokyo Story") of 1953, which is cited by some film critics as one of the ten best films made.

"Early Summer" is the second of three films in which Setsuko Hara plays an unmarried young woman, aged 28 in "Bakushu", named Noriko (also in Ozu's 1949 "Banshun" or "Late Spring", and in "Tokyo Story"). Her always beaming and confident smile, mischievous but loving laughter, and unselfish and loving manner are a constant joy to experience - she's the kind of person anybody would love to have as a friend. Noriko lives in post-WW II Tokyo as part of an extended family of her parents along her somewhat stern brother (a doctor) and his warm wife and their two spoiled young sons, aged approximately 3 and 6. The family partially depends on her income as an office clerk of sorts.

The central theme is the family's concern that carefree Noriko is unmarried. A proposal comes in from a man twelve years her senior; the family feels this is a great opportunity that they hope she will respond positively to. How she takes all this in stride and works through the gentle pressure of getting married is the plot of the film, but the understated, low-key and low-angle camera shots make what might otherwise be an unexceptional story sweetly captivating and delightful.

I am reminded in this film of my favorite director, Satyajit Ray. Like Ray, at least in "Bakushu", Ozu very effectively uses minimal dialogue, little or no music, and subtlety to draw the viewer into the setting and paint a realistic picture of everyday life.

I felt instant connection with Setsuko Hara as vivacious and indomitable Noriko. Her brother, Koichi (Chishu Ryu) was impeneterably unemotional, probably stereotypically so. Koichi's wife, Aya Tamura (Chikage Awashima) seemed a tamer version of Noriko, almost like an older sister from the same roots. The parents Shukichi Mamiya (Ichiro Sugai) and his wife Shige (Chieko Higashiyama) were realistically portrayed as being content in fulfilling their familial responsibilities, and provided an even emotional keel.

If this is at all typical of Yasujiro Ozu's films, then I am anxious to seek out and start to enjoy his many other creations. The film moves at life's pace, but Ozu transforms what might be a moderately interesting peek into one family's life into a rich and delightful tapestry.

--Dilip Barman Sept. 21, 2003


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