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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 3,527 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 35 critic

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

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Title: Early Summer (1951)

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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
Kuninori 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:

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Details

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Release Date:

2 August 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Early Summer  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Follows Late Spring (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

 
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30 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I did not know much about Yasujiro Ozu's films prior to seeing Early Summer. I knew he was as big an influence in the West as Akira Kurosawa. It is not difficult to understand Kurosawa's influence since his films were largely influenced by John Ford and his stories were occasionally based on Shakespeare. Ozu, seems to take a quiet and simple approach to the cinematic experience.

"Early Summer" is about a time when families extend and break apart. We are introduced to the Mamiya family, a typical family of 1950's post war Japan, who we see going about their daily life routines. The protagonist is the daughter Noriko, a 28 year old girl whose parents believe is ready to get married. One day, Noriko is recommended a man Takako, who is an associate of her boss. Noriko considers the offer but does not spark much interest. Her parents try to encourage her daughter to marry this man but after learning that Takako is much older, Noriko becomes even more reluctant. One day, their close neighbor Kenkichi, has been offered a job outside of Tokyo and has decided to leave. It is Kenkichi who Noriko suddenly decides to marry. The Mamiya family becomes upset because Kenkichi is not only moving away from home but he is also a widower with a child. The parents soon realize that they will have to accept and nothing will be the same again. The story has a somewhat similar structure to a documentary in that we sometimes feel as though we are witnessing real life as it happens. Much of what occurs throughout the film is not directly connected to the story. There is no surprise or ironic conclusion. Everything seems inevitable and there is no major surprises or conclusions. "Early Summer" helps us think about the essence of selfishness in the Japanese nuclear family. It is uncommon for Japanese families to leave the family because independence is looked down upon. At the same time, it is inevitable that things change for better or for worse. There is a wonderful scene with the grandparents contemplating on Noriko and their lives. "Things couldn't be better" says the grandfather. "Well they could" says the grandmother. The grandfather replies,"please, we must not expect too much from life" This seems to be an important awareness of the film and one that exists between the Mamiya family. Noriko accepts who she's in love with not because she seeked him out but because it occurred when she least expected. She tries to read into her future and accepts that marriage will be difficult. There is another wonderful moment after she has accepted Kenkichi's mother to marry her son, she is seen walking home and passes by her soon to be husband. Their exchange is very subtle and brief and yet we know they are going to spend the rest of their lives together. This scene is presented in an ironic way that helps us to pay close attention to the mundaneness of our lives. These are the moments that help us see the world in better light. Ozu has a great eye for timing, atmosphere and above all, humor. There is nothing pretentious about this film. It is an examination of family unity and the passing transition of marriage.


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