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Floating Weeds (1959)
"Ukikusa" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  24 November 1970 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,844 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 62 critic

The head of a Japanese theatre troupe returns to a small coastal town where he left a son who thinks he is his uncle, and tries to make up for the lost time, but his current mistress grows jealous.

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Title: Floating Weeds (1959)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ganjirô Nakamura ...
Komajuro Arashi
Machiko Kyô ...
Sumiko
Ayako Wakao ...
Kayo
Hiroshi Kawaguchi ...
Kiyoshi Homma
Haruko Sugimura ...
Oyoshi
Hitomi Nozoe ...
Aiko
...
Theatre Owner
Kôji Mitsui ...
Kichinosuke
Haruo Tanaka ...
Yatazo
Yosuke Irie ...
Sugiyama
Hikaru Hoshi ...
Kimura
Mantarô Ushio ...
Sentaro
Kumeko Urabe ...
Shige
Toyo Takahashi ...
Aiko no haha
Mutsuko Sakura ...
O-Katsu
Edit

Storyline

A troupe of travelling players arrive at a small seaport in the south of Japan. Komajuro Arashi, the aging master of the troupe, goes to visit his old flame Oyoshi and their son Kiyoshi, even though Kiyoshi believes Komajuro is his uncle. The leading actress Sumiko is jealous and so, in order to humiliate the master, persuades the younger actress Kayo to seduce Kiyoshi. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Floating Weeds  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Soundtrack, especially in the beginning scenes, is very reminiscent of Nino Rota's circus-like music for films of Federico Fellini. See more »

Goofs

Near the end, sandals disappear or move around: after Kiyoshi argues with his father, he runs upstairs, first slipping out of his sandals and leaving them at the bottom (center) of the stairs. Moments later, Kayo goes up to him. We see that she, too, removes her sandals at the bottom of the stairs. But Kiyoshi's sandals have now suddenly disappeared: we see only Kayo's sandals at the bottom of the stairs. Moments later, Kiyoshi comes back downstairs to go after his father. He goes to put on his sandals, which have now suddenly reappeared, but in a different location from where he took them off. A moment later, Kayo also comes down the stairs and puts on her sandals, which are approximately where she had removed them and placed them, moments earlier. See more »

Connections

Remake of A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An absorbing and visually stunning film
9 January 2007 | by (Boulder, CO) – See all my reviews

From the opening scene with the lighthouse in the distance and a bottle on the beach in the foreground (which is worthy of being a famous modern minimalist landscape painting) the view is pulled back to a shot of the lighthouse from between two boats, then to a store front. These shots are the equivalent of a powerful opening paragraph to a novel, they draw you in in anticipation of what is to come. Throughout the film the artistry of the color cinematography does not disappoint. Each scene is composed as if it were a painting and the use of color is singularly striking. A black-and-white viewing of this film would lose about 80% of its appeal.

The story is that of a traveling Kabuki theater troupe arriving to perform in a small Japenese village. This is not the troupe's first visit to the village and the leader of the troupe, Komajuro Arashi, had fathered an illegitimate boy there some eighteen years in the past. When Komajuro visits the mother of his son, for the first time in twelve years, complications ensue.

Some remark that this is a simple story simply told. As far as its being a simple story, it is no simpler than, say, "Othello," which could be summarized as "Proud soldier meets tragic end due to jealousy." The treatment of the corrosive effects of jealousy, pride, deception, and male ego in "Floating Weeds" make for anything but a simple tale. As far as its being simply told, it is in fact most skillfully told - as the movie progresses the combination of sound and image have a subtle accumulating effect on mood, heightening awareness. It is frequently the case that the *appearance* of simplicity in a work of art, as in "Floating Weeds," is difficult to achieve.

The music is a cross between the score for a French comedy and a work of Arvo Pärt, but it adroitly reflects the shifting moods of the film which alternate between serious and comic, sometimes being simultaneously serious and comic. Ozu does not allow his movie to become overly ponderous; it is leavened with humor. For example, when the troupe is enjoying a day at the beach one of the members says with seriousness, "The sky's so blue, it's sad," to which another replies, "Don't be silly, I want to eat a big cutlet."

It is difficult not to be offended by Komajuro's physical abuse of his mistress, his son, and his son's lover. And the general acceptance of male dominance is hard to digest. I am not sure what we are supposed to feel about Komajuro at the end, but I found that his particular personality flaws distanced me from any deep caring about him or his fate. I had more concern about the future of his son and the women who were involved with him.


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