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|Index||19 reviews in total|
When I first saw this film it struck me as being a very unusual and odd little movie. The camera work was direct and straightforward, as if the director were composing a still life painting. With the passage of time I remembered this film not as a whole but as a series of vignettes, the sailor marching in the bar, the unrequited lovers waiting for a train on the platform, the father staring into his daughter's empty room. I have recently seen An Autumn Afternoon again, and was not disappointed. Each scene has an almost indescribable longing, an ephemeral quality that speaks to the beauty and sadness of everyday life. I love this film, it is a true work of art.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An Autumn Afternoon, the final film by the great Yasujiro Ozu, is a
portrayal of family interaction and conflict that provides a moving
summation of a career that produced 53 films in 60 years. Similar in theme
to his 1949 film Late Spring, a widowed father, Shuhei Hirayama, portrayed
by the wonderful Chishu Ryu, wants his 24-year old daughter, Michiko, (Shima
Iwashima) to marry but fears loneliness. After the death of her mother, as
is traditional in Japanese families, Michiko has assumed her role, taking
care of household chores and making sure that her father's needs are met.
She feels no urge to marry and prefers to remain at home.
Much of An Autumn Afternoon consists of small vignettes of family life. One of these involves Hirayama's son Koichi (Keiji Sada) and his wife Akiko (Mariko Okada. Both seem to mirror the encroaching consumer values of the new Tokyo lit up with neon lights, Coca-Cola signs, and rooftop golf. They bicker about finances, borrow money from their parents, and talk about buying expensive golf clubs and leather handbags on installment. The film has moments of delightful humor. Hirayama spends a great amount of time at a bar run by a woman who looks like his former wife, reminiscing about the good old days and listening to a military march from World War II. In one of the funniest scenes, he talks to a former shipmate who tells him that if Japan had won the war, American women would be playing Japanese musical instruments and wearing geisha style wigs and they both agree that it was better that Japan lost.
When one of Hirayama's employees tells him she is leaving to get married, he begins to wonder whether or not it is also the time for Michiko. When Hirayama's friend Kawai (Nobuo Nakamura) proposes a match for Michiko, however, he does not tell his daughter about it, thinking there is plenty of time. The situation is crystallized when he has a reunion with an old school teacher Sakuma, (Eijiro Tono) known as "The Gourd" and notices how guilty his friend feels for not insisting that his daughter Tomoko marry when she had the opportunity. The result is an acceptance of the inevitable and the sadness that goes along with it. As An Autumn Afternoon ends, the camera pans around an empty room. We see an old man sitting on a chair, his head in his hands, weeping quietly. In his final moment of grace, Ozu has given us another experience that will last a lifetime.
This is Ozu's last film, and it is wonderful. At first, I wondered if it could be even good. It has similar themes of other, amazing films like "Late Spring" and "Early Summer", both of which had the truly amazing actress Setsuko Hara, who is not in this film. However, this film is just about as great as them, since it has one of the best acting performances of terrific Ozu regular Chishu Ryu. He plays the father, a widower with three children, two sons and a daughter. It is no surprise to me that the daughter Michiko, played by Shima Iwashita and Akiko the daughter in law, played by Mariko Okada, have had such long, varied careers in cinema. They are great in their roles. There is a certain sass to both of them which really comes across in their characters. They are also both beautiful. The story also has a great sideline, in which Mr. Ryu's old friends help out an teacher, nicknamed "The Gourd". From there, you meet the teacher's daughter Tanako, a familiar face to all Ozu fans. I was deeply affected by Tomako, even though her role is small. I feel her sadness and loneliness. Another great scene is when the father meets up with an old armed services buddy and they go to a local bar and play a war march. They are a bit drunk, and they salute. Playing the barmaid is the great actress Kyoko Kishida, star of the great "Manji" and "Woman In The Dunes". I was deeply interested in the lives of these people, and find the film to be just wonderful, displaying the emotions that a great Ozu film possesses. This film is profoundly moving. I would not start with this film as an introduction to Ozu, only because "Tokyo Story", "Late Spring" and "I Was Born, But" are such masterpieces, but this ranks with them. A deeply profound, excellent epitaph from Yasojiro Ozu, one of the greatest directors ever, from anywhere at any time. See it, you will not be disappointed. Rest in peace, Yasojiro Ozu.
This was one of the first Ozu films I saw, and is one of my favorites. Ozu's themes - a family adjusts uneasily to the rapidly shifting traditions of life in middle-class, postwar Japan - are handled with great subtlety, and many dark ironies are to be found beneath the fragile quietude at this film's surface. This isn't just applicable to Japan, and this realization gives this film a sad sting that stuck with me long after the movie was over. Ozu's famous 'look' - no closeups, no crane shots, a still camera fixed at 3 1/2 feet off the floor or ground also gives this film an unforgettable grace and beauty. DVD please???
Ozu's final film is his most visually beautiful, and among his most somber. Aside from "Tokyo Story," "Late Spring" and "A Story of Floating Weeds," this is my favorite Ozu film. There are several stories at work in this movie, but the primary involves a middle-aged father whose adult daughter is reluctant to marry. Long detached from her, the father realizes, only too late, that with her departure, goes the happiest chapter of his life. Ozu's style is extremely refined at this point, and "An Autumn Afternoon" shows the director at the height of his artistic prowess. As such, this movie is a terrific introduction to Ozu, and it is a rewarding farewell for fans. Visually speaking, this one is a stunner, and every frame of the movie is a stand-alone composition. Many of the Ozu stock company make appearances, including Chishu Ryu and Keiji Sada, as well as some new faces, such as Kyoko Kishida from "Woman in the Dunes." The story is a classic Ozu meditation on family, marriage, and nostalgia, and the ending is among his most remorseful. If you appreciate Ozu or are just curious about this quiet master, "An Autumn Afternoon" is a great choice. This film is a serene, graceful masterpiece.
In the early 60's in Tokyo, the widower Hirayama (Chishû Ryû) is a
former captain from the Japanese navy that works as a manager of a
factory and lives with his twenty-four year-old daughter Michiko (Shima
Iwashita) and his son Kazuo (Shin'ichirô Mikami) in his house. His
older son Koichi (Keiji Sada) is married with Akiko (Mariko Okada) that
are compulsive consumers and Akiko financially controls their expenses.
Hirayama frequently meets his old friends Kawai (Nobuo Nakamura) and Professor Horie (Ryûji Kita), who is married with a younger wife, to drink in a bar. When their school teacher Sakuma (Eijiro Tono) comes to a reunion of Hirayama with old school mates, they learn that the old man lives with his daughter that stayed single to take care of him. Michiko lives a happy life with her father and her brother, but Hirayama feels that it is time to let her go and tries to arrange a marriage for her.
"Sanma no aji" is the last movie of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu about his favorite theme: family and human relationship. Actually he revisits in color thirteen years later, the theme of the wonderful "Banshun". Both story lines are about an old father that realizes that he can not hold his daughter with him anymore and she needs to get married with an arranged marriage as a natural order of life in the traditional Japan. The beautiful and touching story shows also the contrast between the traditional and the newer generation formed by consumers and is supported by awesome performances and the use of magnificent camera work, with symmetrically framed images. Last but not the least, it is impressive how the characters drink in this movie. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil):"A Rotina Tem Seu Encanto" ("The Routine Has its Charm")
A sensitive film which observes a widower and his family as they
navigate through their days and nights in post-WWII Japan, a place
where etiquette and custom are still important and individuality counts
for less than it does in the U.S.A. We witness a world where unmarried
women are expected to take care of their partner-less fathers and
This film features excellent use of color, especially the placement of yellows and reds.
"An Autumn Afternoon" grows on you as you slowly, steadily work your way into the lives of Mr. Hirayama and his family; it's as if the camera were a guest gaining the acceptance of the major characters.
Will Mr. Hirayama come upon his own personal autumn afternoon - a state of philosophical clarity where he can discern things soberly and make a wise and compassionate decision?
A must-see for devotees of Japanese cinema, director Ozu, and those who love quiet, gentle films.
I have seen many visually beautiful and emotionally moving films, but not as many recently. An Autumn Afternoon is one of those primary examples. Meditative in its pacing it is, but it is never dull. How everything is made and written really makes an interesting and very rewarding experience indeed. It is incredibly well made to start off with, the camera is kept at low angles and is still, but for me this allowed me to explore and really admire the scenery and the framing which are very elegantly done. Kojan Siato's score is one of those soothing and unobtrusive scores that helps the audience to connect with An Autumn Afternoon's gentle mood. How An Autum Afternoon is written is also exceptional, as well as the gentle tone, the story has this great warmth, wisdom and humanity. As well as Ozu's meticulous as ever direction what is also great about An Autumn Afternoon is the lead performance, Chishu Ryu's performance is dignified and altogether very touching. In conclusion, not just one of the cinema's greatest swan-song but a masterpiece of a film also. 10/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The last work from revered filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu is a surprising
delight, at once a summation of the family dramas that dominated his
postwar career and a celebration of his quiet artistry. It's a movie
that doesn't call attention to itself and even goes as far as lifting
entire sequences from his previous films. At the same time, this 1962
drama is not so much a re-telling of the same stories (co-written with
longtime collaborator Kôgo Noda) as it is a re-evaluation of the same
dramatic themes that inform the director's work since "Late Spring",
his 1949 classic to which this film bears the strongest resemblance.
Ozu aficionados will find all his familiar, idiosyncratic touches here
- the elliptical narrative, the observational view of the characters
from the outside, the thoughtfully composed shots, and the stationary,
slightly above-ground camera angles to replicate the perspective of
someone sitting on a tatami mat. Moreover, Ozu liked using the same
actors over and over again, so it comes a no surprise that frequent Ozu
actor Chishu Ryu stars in the director's valedictory film.
The character-rich plot centers on middle-aged businessman Shuhei Hirayama who lives with his 24-year-old daughter Michiko and younger son Kazuo. In the absence of a mother, Michiko takes care of the wifely responsibilities for her father and brother and hasn't considered marriage in the near term even though Japanese tradition would label her an old maid soon enough. Hirayama's old friend Kawai has an eligible bachelor in mind to connect with Michiko, but her heart belongs to someone else who is unaware of her interest. Hirayama thinks there is no hurry to marry his daughter off until he sees his old middle schoolteacher comically nicknamed "The Gourd" by his old classmates. Hirayama and Kawai take the wizened man home in a drunken state after a night of sake and beer. They see that he now owns a run-down noodle shop and lives with his daughter, an aging spinster who reveals hints of her sad fate. As Hirayama forges ahead with his daughter's prospect, his older son Koichi struggles to live within his modest means with a wife who nags him about his spendthrift ways. He needs to borrow money from his father to buy a new refrigerator but wants to buy a set of used MacGregor golf clubs against his wife's objections. The plot threads eventually come together when Michiko does marry leaving Hirayama to share household responsibilities with Kazuo.
What first catches your eye is Ozu's vivid use of color, especially a bold use of red in both defining and transitional shots. The other aspect is tonal as the director has moved from the barely concealed emotionalism of his early works to a certain ruefulness in his last film. The last few minutes cover the exact same dramatic finale of "Late Spring", but this time, it doesn't seem nearly as tragic, evoking a slightly melancholic resignation. The stoic Ryu plays the role of the widowed father in both films, this time given an intriguing backstory as an officer in the Imperial Navy during World War II. This leads to my favorite scene at a bar where Hirayama runs into a former sailor under his command (played with boisterous relish by Kurosawa favorite Daisuke Kato) and speculate what Japan would be like had they won the war. Played by Kyôko Kishida, the bar hostess will be familiar to art-house connoisseurs for the title role in Hiroshi Teshigahara's classic "Woman in the Dunes". Another familiar face is Haruko Sugimura (the selfish older daughter in "Tokyo Story") whose cameo as the schoolteacher's spinster daughter is heartbreaking. Eijiro Tonô (Tora! Tora! Tora!") cuts an effectively pitiable figure as her father.
Shima Iwashita plays Michiko with snippy plaintiveness, effective enough but a far cry from the luminous Setsuko Hara in the earlier film (her reassuring presence is missed here). Keiji Sada (who sadly died in a car crash soon after this film was made) and Mariko Okada etch a revealing postwar portrait of a young Japanese couple struggling to make ends meet in their small apartment. Compared to previous Ozu classics released by the Criterion Collection, the extras on this 2008 release are sparse and limited to one disc. First, there is a highly informative commentary track by author David Bordwell ("Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema"). The second is a fifteen-minute excerpt from a 1978 French TV special, "Yasujiro Ozu and The Taste of Saki" just as France was discovering his work. Critics Michel Ciment and Georges Perec lend their rather pretentious perspectives. Two theatrical trailers round out the disc extras. There is also a 28-page booklet about the film's production included in the slipcase.
I can whole-heartedly relate to previous reviewers' sentiments about this movie. From my own perspective it is also an awesome celebration of beauty. The theme is the same Ozu's favoriteseparation of father and his grown-up daughter-- however it is presented in a different, less nerve-wrecking and more humorous way (as compared to Late Spring), but most of all -- within the colorful kaleidoscope of everyday things looking as works of art in themselves. Ozu rejoices in showing the beauty of such mundane objects as mugs, bowls, kimonos, tables, lamp shades, houses, fences, even industrial chimneys and such. Colors and shapes are arranged into perfect compositions and sometimes it seems that still objects actually govern the mood and the flow of people around them. The parallel with Tarkovskij's movies, like Solaris and Stalker, where the harmony of individual objects creates its own layer of movie symbolism, seems natural, only Russian movies were shot more than a decade later. I watched An Autumn Afternoon several times with the same joyful interest and gratitude for the gift of showing us the beauty of everyday life.
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