I have seen quite a few of Yasujiro Ozu's films and while I enjoyed this film, it is not among his best--mostly because of its sluggish pacing. If the film had about 20 minutes cut from it, I really think it would have worked better. Now I am not against long films--provided they merit the additional time. This is one of the few Ozu films I had to force myself to finish, as I found it hard to concentrate on what was occurring--a first for one of his films.
The film is set in a Japanese company where there are lots of lower to mid-level drones doing their jobs. The theme, at times, is that no matter how hard you work and devote yourself to your job, you will one day die...and most likely not appreciated or sufficiently recompensed for your hard work. A depressing view, to be sure, as the film was apparently trying to make a point about alienation during the industrial age (a common theme in Ozu films).
In addition to this theme, there is another plot involving one of the workers having an affair with a co-worker. What actually made this pretty interesting and poignant is that the man's marriage was already in trouble, as their son had died several years ago (as a small child) and the couple became distant in the aftermath. Also interesting is the reaction of the man's co-workers when they think they've discovered the affair (though they still aren't sure). The men all seem to condemn them very quickly and say this is disruptive to the company. BUT, they also later sound incredibly envious of the couple! Additionally, instead of confronting both of them, they only invite in the woman---an interesting double standard.
Overall, the film is typical in style to what you'd expect from an Ozu film. The camera remains stationary and slightly lower than the actors and there are no lens movements. Instead, scenes change by cuts, not by a roving camera. Also, the film's subjects are the countless lower-level white collar workers. Atypical is the film's slow pace (slow even for Ozu) as well as the subject matter--adultery is not something he talked about often.
So is it worth seeing? Well, anything by Ozu is worth seeing as far as I am concerned. Just don't expect quite the same magic and poignant moments like you'd find in such classics as FLOATING WEEDS or LATE SPRING.
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