The penultimate film in his astonishing oeuvre, Yasujiro Ozu's story about an aging widower and his relationship with his three very different daughters has a strong sense of death throughout, contradicted with some of the most gorgeous cinematography available in cinema. Ozu's typical minimalist and economical visual style are quite conducive to realizing this theme, showing how even the most beautiful and poetic elements of life eventually run their course, as does everything in this life.
The main crux of the story rests on the patriarch of the family, Manbei, who continues to see a woman he knew while he was married, a notion which naturally upsets at least one of his daughters. The other two seem more pensive about the situation, leading them to contemplate their own lives as the eldest is widowed herself and debating whether or not to remarry while the youngest is wondering who she should marry. It is worth noting how Ozu portrays the elder generation as being more open to passion and vigorous living than the younger. The conclusion seems to be that despite the inevitability of death, how one lives one's life determines how they will be remembered rather than who they were perceived to be. Though death remains ever-important, it cannot and should not prevent one from attempting to live to the fullest possible existence.
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