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

 -  Drama  -  24 November 1970 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,049 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 64 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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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

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Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Floating Weeds  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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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

Exquisitely restrained
30 March 2003 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Floating Weeds by Yasujiro Ozu is an exquisitely restrained film about a failing acting troupe that travels to a small town and engenders a conflict of generations in a Japanese family. As the film opens a boat moves slowly into the harbor a Japanese coastal village. A Kabuki troupe arrives and begins to pass out leaflets announcing their opening performance. Sadly the opening crowds are small. Komajuro (Ganjiro Nakamura), the principal actor in the troupe, goes off by himself to visit Oyoshi (Haruko Sugimura), a former lover who runs a Saki bar. She has an adult son, Kiyoshi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi) who Komajuro had fathered many years ago. Komajuro has hidden his identity from the boy because of his shame at being a traveling actor and Kiyoshi only knows of him only as "uncle".

When Sumiko (Machiko Kyo), Komajuro's mistress and leading star, finds out about this relationship she goes into a jealous rage and hires a young actress, Kayo (Ayako Wakao) to seduce Kiyoshi in order to humiliate his father. Kiyoshi, however, falls in love with Kayo. Komajuro disapproves and shows his anger but cannot exert parental authority since he has not told his son the truth about his parentage. As the troupe continues to draw small crowds, Komajuro's inner pain becomes visible and he strikes out physically against Kayo, Sumiko, and Kiyoshi. It is only in the surprising conclusion that he seems to regain some sense of acceptance of his circumstances.

Floating Weeds is a very intimate experience. The camera does not move but remains focused on the characters as they engage in discussions about commonplace events. As in Bresson, the actors show little emotion and speak in a monotone with long silences between questions and answers. The overall effect, however, is not banality but a sense of the natural rhythm of life. Ozu is a loving observer of human nature not a moralist. There are no saints in this film and each character is vulnerable and deeply human. Komajuro has been stripped of his career, his relationship with his son, and his female companions who still beg him for forgiveness. He is alone but he has retained his humanity and we feel only compassion for him. The ending is, in the phrase of Donald Richie, "a kind of resigned sadness, a calm and knowing serenity which maintains despite the uncertainty of life and things of this world". Floating Weeds is a masterful film from a director who truly respects his audience.


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