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

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  24 November 1970 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,667 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 66 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 overview, first billed only:
Ganjirô Nakamura ...
Komajuro Arashi
Machiko Kyô ...
Ayako Wakao ...
Hiroshi Kawaguchi ...
Kiyoshi Homma
Haruko Sugimura ...
Hitomi Nozoe ...
Theatre Owner
Kôji Mitsui ...
Haruo Tanaka ...
Yosuke Irie ...
Hikaru Hoshi ...
Mantarô Ushio ...
Kumeko Urabe ...
Toyo Takahashi ...
Aiko no haha
Mutsuko Sakura ...


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

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Release Date:

24 November 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Floating Weeds  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Roger Ebert, who provided the audio commentary on the 2003 Criterion DVD release, names this film as one of his ten all-time favorites. See more »


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 »


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

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User Reviews

Seemingly Simple, But Quite Satisfying
18 November 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

While seemingly rather simple, "Floating Weeds" is quite a satisfying film that combines Ozu's usual thoughtful tone with characters and atmosphere convincing enough that they almost immediately make you feel as if you know both the principals and their surroundings. Much of the running time is spent on apparently routine activities, but each scene serves a useful purpose in developing the themes, settings, and characters.

The story ties together the fortunes of a traveling troupe of kabuki actors with, in the forefront, a crucial point in the relationships of Komajuro, their leader. The setting in a seaside village offers a suitably languid atmosphere that sets off both plot lines very appropriately. One of the things that is so interesting about Ozu's films is that the settings are so definitively Japanese, with plenty of well-conceived details, and yet the way that he approaches the story and characters makes his movies seem universal, confined neither by time nor place.

The characters here are an interesting assortment of theatrical types and villagers. Many of them are relatively one-dimensional, but they are portrayed with skill and sensitivity, making even the simplest of them seem worth knowing. Especially good is Machiko Kyô as Sumiko, who is also the most interesting of the characters. Ganjiro Nakamura is good too as Komajuro, but Kyô usually gets the best of their scenes together.

Two particularly good scenes between the two are the tense dispute in the rain and the encounter in the train station. In the former scene, Ozu's setup for the scene is a perfect complement for the characters' dialogue and actions. In the latter, the characters convey deep feelings with the most economical and satisfying of means.

This is the kind of movie for which subsequent viewings might even be more enjoyable than the first, in the way that coming back to a familiar place can give you an odd sense of peace or security. And it leaves you with the feeling that it would be nice to come back again sometime.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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